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In 1974, at more or less the same time as his expulsion from the USSR and the publication of the Letter to the Soviet Leaders and the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn also published a collection of essays by various writers given the title in the English translation From under the rubble. (1) The book was co-edited with the well-known mathematician, Igor Shafarevich. (2)

(1) Alexander Solzhenitsyn et al: From under the rubble, translated under the direction of Michael Scammell, London, Collins and Harvill, 1975. In Russian, Paris, YMCA-Press, 1974.

(2) For those who understand these things. Shafarevich's name is evoked in the Shafarevich-Tate group; the Shafarevich-Weil theorem; the Shafarevich reciprocity law; the Artin-Hasse-Shafarevich exponential map; the Shafarevich basis of the group of principle units; the Golod-Shafarevich theorem on class field towers; the Grothiendick-Ogg-Shafarevich formula for arithnetic surfaces; the relative Shafarevich theorem; the Shafarevich conjecture for holomorphic convexity; the Shafarevich complex; the Kostrikin-Shafarevich conjecture (Ko-S 66), the Shafarevich basis in the Milnor K-Groups of a multidimensional local field; the Néron-Ogg-Shafarevich criterion; the Rudakov-Shafarevich lattice; and the Shafarevich maps. Listed in Krista Berglund: The Vexing case of Igor Shafarevich, a Russian political thinker, Springer Basel A.G., 2012.

In the 1980s, Shafarevich published in samizdat an essay on 'Russophobia' (3) - an assault on various writers whom he regarded as hostile to the Russian national tradition and to the prospect that, from under the Soviet rubble, Russia might emerge as a nation in its own right. In the course of his argument he draws a distinction between the people as a whole (Russians) and the 'small people' - perhaps it would be better to say 'small community' - meaning an intellectual élite with interests that are contrary to the interests of the people as a whole but who because of their small number and cohesiveness as a group are able to exercise a disproportionate influence on the course of events. He bases his argument on the thesis of the French historian Augustin Cochin whose account of the French Revolution stressed the influence of groups such as the political clubs and masonic lodges which Cochin calls the 'thinking societies' (sociétés de pensées - the term 'think tank' comes to mind). As Shafarevich's essay proceeds it becomes increasingly clear that the Russophobe intellectual élite is, for the most part, Jewish.

(3) Igor Chafarévitch: La Russophobie, Éditions chapitre douze, 1993 for the French translation by Alexandre Volsky. I don't know of an English translation. The French translation is prefaced with an 'avertissement' which reads: 'Some readers may be shocked by the publication of the French translation of Russophobia which some have not hesitated to call a fascist and racist polemic. This essay which originally circulated in samizdat in the 1980s and was published three years ago [ie in 1990 - PB] in hundreds of thousands of copies by the literary review Nach sovremennik is nonetheless an historic document of the greatest importance both through the personality of its author and of those who back him and through the popularity in Russia of the doctrines which inspire him against which we believe a struggle is still necessary.'

I want to discuss Shafarevich's argument - and the names he evokes - in some detail but first, I think, a little background is necessary on the subject of 'the Russian tradition'.

Solzhenitsyn, like Shafarevich, has three essays in From under the rubble. The first - 'As breathing and consciousness return' is based on a letter he wrote to Andrei Sakharov, the nuclear scientist, father of the Russian H-bomb, responding to his 1968 treatise "Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom". Solzhenitsyn. making it clear that Sakharov's own thinking had evolved since then, is critical of the fact that Sakharov's treatise, important and radical as it was, is still locked in a Soviet and Leninist mindset. Solzhenitsyn, going beyond what he himself could have published openly in 1968, is arguing for the development of a distinctively Russian - as opposed to Soviet - politics. In a second essay, on 'Repentance and self-limitation in the life of nations' he argues that this will only be possible when Russians recognise the creation of the Soviet Union and their own imperialist ambitions as having been sinful. The third essay, translated under the title 'The Smatterers', was a critique of the Soviet intelligentsia - at least it would have been if Solzhenitsyn thought there was anything left in the Soviet Union worthy of the name: 

'So, having failed to reach a precise definition of the intelligentsia, it would appear that we no longer need one. What is understood by the word in Russia today is the whole of the educated stratum, every person who has been to school above the seventh grade.

'In Dal's dictionary, the word obrazorat' as opposed to the word proveschat' is defined as meaning "to give merely an outward polish."

'Although the polish we have acquired is rather third rate, it will be entirely in the spirit of the Russian language and will probably convey the right sense if we refer to this "polished" or "schooled" stratum, all those who nowadays falsely or rashly style themselves "the intelligentsia", as the obrazovanscchina - the semi-educated estate - the "smatterers"' (p.242) (4)

 (4) The English word 'smatterers' obviously isn't quite adequate. In a footnote in his biography of Solzhenitsyn, Michael Scammell, who devised the word, elaborates: 'Solzhenitsyn's word is derived from the Russian for "schooling" and implies that anyone who has been to school in the Soviet Union, and has a smattering of knowledge, tends to think of himself as an intelligent or intellectual." (p.823).