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Watch: OneShot — Back From The Gulag

He was born three years before Russia's October Revolution, and served in the Red Army during World War II. But in 1945, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was arrested for criticizing Stalin, and spent eight years in a labor camp. The experience reshaped his political opinions and inspired his most famous works, including The Gulag Archipelago (1973). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, but was hounded by the KGB, stripped of his citizenship, and expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. He remained in exile for 20 years, before being allowed back in Russia in 1994 — after the fall of the USSR — where he died ten years ago on this day.

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn — © Bert Verhoeff / Anefo / OneShot

This photo was taken in 1974, during Solzhenitsyn's stay at his friend Heinrich Böll"s home, in Langenbroich, West Germany. He had been deported from the Soviet Union only two days earlier.

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Ideas

Ukraine Has Exposed The Bankruptcy Of Germany's "Never Again" Pacifism

A group of pro-peace German intellectuals published a letter asking the country not to deliver heavy weapons to Ukraine, but they're missing the point completely. Germany needs to reinvent itself in order to face today's challenges — and threats.

The Bundestag, or German federal government, meets at the Reichstag building in Berlin.

Sascha Lehnartz

-OpEd-

BERLIN — When even the brightest minds — some of whom have shaped the intellectual life of this republic for decades — suddenly seem at a loss, it can mean one of two things. Either the clever minds are not as clever as we were always led to believe. Or the times have changed so brutally that old pieces of wisdom are suddenly no longer valid.

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If you don't want to give up your childhood faith in the Federal Republic of Germany quite yet, you can settle on the second option.

Alexander Kluge, one of Germany's most versatile artists, founded a television production company, proving that there can even be television for intellectuals. Journalist and prominent feminist Alice Schwarzer has done more for the liberation of women in this country than anyone else. Yet Schwarzer and Kluge, along with another two dozen intellectuals, have written an open letter that basically recommends Ukraine to submit to Vladimir Putin for the sake of the authors' peace of mind.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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