Soviet Union

Honoring Two Intellectual Giants of the 20th Century

Before 2018 concludes, we should remember two men born a century ago this year who profoundly shaped public discourse in the twentieth century: Alexander Solzhenitsyn (b. Dec. 11, 1918) and Russell Kirk (b. Oct. 19, 1918). Solzhenitsyn, who lived into the new millennium (he died at age 89 in 2008), was both a Nobel laureate … Read more

Remembering Polish Catholic Heroes of WWII

Although even secularist historians admit that Pope St. John Paul II inspired the rise of Solidarity and dealt a death blow to the Soviet Empire, the pivotal role Polish Catholicism played in anti-Nazi and anti-Soviet resistance is less well-known. The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II this year is a fitting time to … Read more

The Priest of the Gulag: Walter Ciszek, SJ

Far in the bitter Russian north, word of the death of Joseph Stalin spread—even among the political prisoners and criminals who toiled ceaselessly, doomed and forgotten, in the mines and forests of Siberia. The news was a spark of hope that lit the fuse of rebellion. The camps erupted in violence as prisoners’ pent up … Read more

Solzhenitsyn: The Courage to be a Christian

In these dark days in which the power of secular fundamentalism appears to be on the rise and in which religious freedom seems to be imperiled, it is easy for Christians to become despondent. The clouds of radical relativism seem to obscure the light of objective truth and it can be difficult to discern any … Read more

A Tipping Point on Abortion?

From 1917 to 1991, for more than 80 years, Russia was ruled by an ideology of oppression which paraded as a beacon of liberation. But within 40 years, the masquerade was over, even if the misery remained. Novels like Dr Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak; One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; … Read more

Putin and Stalin: Revising Reality

  Editor’s Note: Steve Chapman is on vacation. The following column was originally published in September 2007. In most countries, the future is impossible to predict, but the past doesn’t change. In Russia, it’s just the opposite. President Vladimir Putin, when he is not busy restoring autocracy to a country that has known little else, … Read more

On Secular Repentance

This column originally appeared in the January 2000 issue of Crisis Magazine.   Repentance is good for the soul. In the past few decades, the Church has been called upon from various quarters to repent for her misdeeds over the 20 Christian centuries. And John Paul II has openly admitted some of the faults of … Read more

A War Prevented: Pope John XXIII and the Cuban Missile Crisis

The Holy See is the oldest continuing international organization in the world. Its Secretary of State office was established in 1486, and that is also when its first permanent representatives were established in Venice, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire, and France. Today, the Holy See maintains diplomatic relations with 176 states. It is also the … Read more

Life Lessons from Joseph Stalin

If you had to use just a single word to express the human condition, which would you choose? This isn’t a Cosmopolitan Magazine quiz, so think for a moment before you fill in the blank. Maybe take out a pen and make a list. Weigh your options against each other, and see if you can … Read more

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