The Loyalists

Solzhenitsyn describes the scene of attempts made by security officers in the gulag to coerce prisoners into incriminating others.

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Though he was an enlightened and irreligious person, U. discovered that the only defence against the security officers was to hide behind Christ.

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This was not very honest, but it was a sure thing.

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He lied: “I must tell you frankly that I had a Christian upbringing, and therefore it is quite impossible for me to work with you.”

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And that ended it! All the lieutenant’s chatter, which had by then lasted many hours, simply stopped!

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The lieutenant understood he had drawn a bad number. “We need you like a dog need five legs,” he exclaimed petulantly.

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“Give me a written refusal explaining about your damned god!”

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Apparently they have to close the case of every informer with a separate piece of paper, just as they open it with one. The reference to Christ satisfied the lieutenant completely: none of the security officers would accuse him subsequently of failing to use every effort he could.

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And does not the impartial reader not find that they flee from Christ like devils from the sign of the cross, from the bells to matins?

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And that is why our Soviet regime can never come to terms with Christianity.

Excerpt from Chapter 12, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-56 written by Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.

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