Russia – Speech by Jean-Yves Le Drian at the conference entitled: “Alexandre Soljenitsyne: un écrivain en lutte avec son siècle” (Paris, 20 November 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, took part in the international conference to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn on November 20 at the Institut de France.

This conference, attended by the author’s wife, Natalia Solzhenitsyn, will bring together leading French and foreign experts on his work. The event, including an exhibition at the 5th arrondissement’s City Hall, is taking place under the auspices of the Trianon Dialogue, a forum launched in 2017 on the initiative of President Macron and his Russian counterpart in order to strengthen ties between Russian and French civil societies.

In his speech, Jean-Yves Le Drian paid tribute to the memory and work of this great writer and dissident, whose literary heritage now features in school reading programs in France and Russia. Alexandr Solzhenitsyn symbolizes both the moral resistance to oppression, the struggle for freedom and the demand for truth. He was a profoundly Russian intellectual who spoke a universal language; thanks to his courage and talent as a writer, he helped to strip away the veil of falsehood and combat the ideology and myths of the Soviet system. During his long years in exile, he also sent messages of vigilance to the West and the world. The discussions and debates on his work and his struggles reflect their relevance and significance.