The Loyalists

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


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


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


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.”


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


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


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


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.


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?


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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