—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago, 1968
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?
—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, forward to the 1983 abridgement of Gulag Archipelago for the US market
If it were possible for any nation to fathom another people’s bitter experience through a book, how much easier its future fate would become and how many calamities and mistakes it could avoid. But it is very difficult. There always is this fallacious belief: “It would not be the same here; here such things are impossible.”
Alas, all the evil of the twentieth century is possible everywhere on earth.