History has outdone Solzhenitsyn. He wanted Russia to be free of its imperial encumbrances in Central Asia, the Transcaucasus and the Baltic, and his wish has been granted. But the Russia he wanted to "rebuild" included Ukraine and Belarus. The thought that they might become independent-a "cruel partition," as he called it in summer 1990 when he wrote this prayer to Russians, "Great" and "Little"-could only come "from the darkening of minds brought on by the communist years." The essay's real merit is in Solzhenitsyn's touching and didactic exploration of democracy's essence and pitfalls, presented like a gift to innocent Russian compatriots.
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