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Solzhenitsyn, as I mentioned in my first article, was highly critical of what he called the 'third emigration' - those who, wanting to escape the Soviet Union, took advantage of the permission given to Jews to emigrate to Israel and who then didn't go to, or stay in, Israel but took advantage of their exile to denounce the country they had abandoned. Panin of course almost exactly fitted this description (though Solzhenitsyn does make something an exception for those who, like Panin, had done time in the camps). He managed to leave because his wife was Jewish, though she converted to Roman Catholicism. He explains, incidentally, that the permission to emigrate to Israel was the price extracted by the US Congress for giving the USSR 'most favoured nation' trading status. [6]

[6]  I hope to discuss this question of Solzhenitsyn's attitude to the 'Jackson amendment' and the specifically Jewish nature of the third emigration in more detail in a later article. 

Solzhenitsyn was furious at his own expulsion. His whole strategy was based on remaining in the Soviet Union and using his international position - which he thought would be unassailable once the Gulag Archipelago had been published in English - to speak freely. His last major essay before the expulsion was Live not by lies, calling on ordinary Soviet citizens, even if they could not speak out as freely as he could, to at least refrain from saying things as writers, endorsing them in votes at public meetings, what they knew to be false. The call to refuse 'lies', the attack on ideology, the call for 'repentance', combined with an acceptance that the regime would continue in existence, were all based on an idea that a distinction could be drawn between the people - in this case even including the leaders - and the ideology. And that in turn was based on the central idea expressed in one of the most often quoted passages in the Gulag Archipelago, that the line between good and evil does not run between particular categories of people but through the heart of each individual person. The human person was always a mixture of good and bad impulses. The ideology was an unmixed evil.

For Panin, all this was an impossible and unreasonable demand. He quotes what he says was one of the 'commandments' necessary to survival in the camps: 'be a slave on the outside and a warrior in your heart'. It was very necessary that people who knew what life was like in the Soviet Union should be present in the West to correct Western misapprehensions and it was right and proper to take advantage of whatever opportunities presented themselves for doing it. . Solzhenitsyn himself, he observes, after treating the Soviet leaders in his Letter as people who could be reasoned with, had insisted in speeches condemning the policy of détente that they were not people who could be reasoned with. To call on the Soviet leaders to separate themselves from their ideology was like asking them to cut off the branch on which they were all sitting, or to go to the dentist to have their teeth drawn. As for not living by lies as a sufficient tactic for confronting the regime: 'The oppressing class can only thank Solzhenitsyn. Naive seekers after the truth are not dangerous and nothing is easier than to chuck them into a psychiatric home.'

How Panin hoped to achieve his revolution, however, remains unclear to me. The clearest statement I could find in Soljénitsyne et la réalité was this:

'In the first place the people must be prepared. The whole truth must be revealed to them - the crimes of the regime, life in the free world, they must be shown the perspectives that would be opened to them after the ruling class was removed from power. Little by little the people would feel its strength, gain confidence, be definitively persuaded of its rights. And it is in the microfraternities that the forces of liberation will rise that will start the revolution and conduct it to victory over the tyrants.'

The 'microfraternities' - existing in clandestinity and on the surface conforming to the lie. In Panin's view it was only after the overthrow of the regime that the moral transformation wanted by Solzhenitsyn could take place.

There is a dialogue in the First Circle in which Sologdin (Panin) mocks Nerzhin's (Solzhenitsyn's) desire to read the complete works of Lenin in order to understand the Revolution (basically part of Solzhenitsyn's lifelong ambition finally realised at least partially in The Red Wheel). Sologdin says it would be a total waste of time. As far as he is concerned Lenin is evil and that is all that needs to be said about him - his thoughts, his ideology are neither here nor there. [7] From the point of view of achieving a revolution, Sologdin/Panin may be right - as the Bolsheviks were hardly interested in the inner thoughts and feelings of the bourgeoisie. But Panin could never have written The  Red Wheel, or even the First Circle.

[7]  Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: In The first circle, translation by Harry Willetts, New York, HarperCollins, 2009., pp.180-181.

Panin died in 1987 so he didn't witness the collapse of the Soviet Union - neither the moral transformation wanted by Solzhenitsyn, nor the revolution wanted by Panin, though there were perhaps elements of both. It started with a change of heart, or at least of policy, in the regime and it produced the sort of chaos that Solzhenitsyn on the basis of his studies of February 1917 had feared. I hope to say something about this in the next article.

Dmitri Panin

'You were drying yourself, and you suddenly raised your face from the towel in the half darkness. I was rooted to the spot. It was like looking at the face in an icon ...'

Nerzhin describing his first encounter with Sologdin in The First Circle, p.177.