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His leading idea seems to have been the need for a transnational and multi-denominational intellectual élite of a religious nature. Shafarevich quotes him as saying:

'Religion is no longer, as it once was, the property of the people. It has become the distinctive characteristic of the élite. Love for the people is much more dangerous [than love for animals]: there is no barrier, there, that can't be passed, like having to clamber about on four feet [this is my interpretation of a rather convoluted French sentence - PB]. Something new will replace the people. Thus will be formed the backbone of a new people. The masses can't form a new people unless they can gather round a new intelligentsia ... If I look to the intelligentsia it isn't because I think it's good ... intellectual development by itself only allows the growth of a propensity to do evil ... but the rest is worse.' (La Russophobie, pp.136-7).

The argument is developed in an article that was published in an English translation in 1971, while Solzhenitsyn was still in Russia. The peasantry, he says, is no longer an important social force. There is nothing to be hoped from it:

'We eat bread harvested by people whom we by force of habit call "peasants", but we do not live in a peasant society; we are no longer surrounded by the narod, "the peasantry." The peasants are becoming too few to be able to surround us. In the United States only seven percent of the population is engaged in agriculture. There is no need for more to provide the remaining 93 percent with bread, butter, and milk. That half of our population lives in the rural areas is, of course, a fact, but a fact more of yesterday than of today. A sort of suspended yesterday. We cannot consider as social reality that which is artificially maintained with the help of a passport system. 

'Both the peasants and the artisans treasured the faith and the rituals of their fathers, thus forming a nation with its folk songs, characteristic needlework, folk customs, and superstitions. And what kind of songs do the kolkhozniks sing today? The very same that are sung by the working class: pitiful remnants of the peasant heritage, some melodies hammered into their heads at school, in the army, by the radio. The peasantry is disappearing. It left a deep imprint on the moral and aesthetic consciousness of humanity; it was a bridge between the tribe and some other thing that only now is being put together. But it is disappearing. In our country only traces of the narod remain, like traces of snow in the spring, little islands of snow in the dark corners of the forest. There are still corners where it is possible to record the Vologda wedding ritual, where one may find the re-habilitated Ivan Denisovich, and where old Matrena lives out her life. But narod as a great historical force, as the backbone of culture, as the source of inspiration for Pushkin and Gogol - is no more.' (3)

(3) Gregory Pomerants and Alexis Koriakov (trans): 'Man without an adjective', The Russian Review, Vol 30, No 3 (July 1971), pp.220-1

The reference is of course to Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denizhovitvh (Ivan is an uneducated peasant) and Matryona's House. In another essay, published in 1989, in the turmoil surrounding the fall of the Soviet Union, he complains against the 'ruralist' or 'village prose' writers who, as we have seen, continued in the tradition of Matryona's House:

'Even in such a Europeanised country as Russia, writers, who are linked with villages and who express the feelings of several tens of millions of people, are not in the least disturbed about human rights. Something else disturbs them: rumours about the extremely harmful conspiracy of Masons. They are consumed with irritation and hatred. Their goal, if one breaks through the level of words, is not peace but the search for the carriers of evil, who should be exterminated ...' (4)

(4) G.S.Pomerants: 'The Liberal Democratic World Order and the traditions of "suboecumenae"', International Journal on World Peace, Vol 6, No 3 (July-September 1989), p.54. Pomeranz contributed several articles to the 'International Journal on World Peace', published by the 'Professors World Peace Academy', a body established by the Korean founder of the 'Unification Church', Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Later, I think after 1992, Pomeranz was involved with the centre at Caux in Switzerland, established by Frank Buchman, founder of Moral Rearmament. He published a book on Moral Rearmament.

In his 1971 article Pomeranz is as sceptical about the proletariat as he is about the peasantry:

'The party turns to the worker only when an intellectual is to be whipped. Then newspapers publish interviews with workers which usually begin as follows: "I have not read Pasternak, but ..." The class that came to life with the first industrial revolution, rising the yeast until it reached 50 per cent of the population, created trade unions, Soviets, strikes and so on, without which we cannot imagine the twentieth century, but virtually nothing capable of leaving a solid, long-lasting footprint.' (p.221)

The only social category from which anything can be hoped is the intelligentsia:

'Where the intelligentsia is free, all have access to freedom. Where the intelligentsia is in slavery, all are slaves. For this reason, and for this reason only, I am against the excessive preoccupation with rural problems, the tragedy of the peasantry, and so on ... At the present time, there is nothing more important than the production of scientific and technical information, but it would be rash to think that this is the final aim after which there will be no turning points ... The increasing importance of mental work poses a new problem, namely the problem of a creative condition. It is necessary to put the brain in a state in which it can solve difficult problems playfully ... It will be an extremely versatile "industry" embracing sports, tourism, art, rituals, psychotechnics of Yoga and Zen. Let us remember the words of Aldous Huxley, one of the most thoughtful men of our century: "To engage in mystical exercises is as useful as brushing your teeth."' (pp.222-3)