Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novel "The First Circle", now adapted for the screen, was the most highly watched TV drama in Russia last week. At the age of 87, Solzhenitsyn helped to write the screenplay and recorded commentary for the 7 1/2 hour long mini-series (see the BBC story here and the International Herald Tribune's story here).
Just when some Western observers were expressing alarm over Stalin nostalgia among the youth in Russia, along comes a program depicting Stalin's Great Terror for ordinary people who may never have read a history book. This is a positive development. As one blogger in the U.S. noted, how many people would watch this series if it were shown in the U.S.? Better yet, if a mini-series were made about his life that included Solzhenitsyn's famous address to the Harvard class of 1978, where he condemned Western materialism, would any U.S. TV network dare run it?