The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956 Characters

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Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko

The Chief State Prosecutor (1918-31) and later People's Commissar of Justice, Krylenko plays a central role in Solzhenitsyn's analysis of how the Soviets' system of revolutionary "justice" develops. The author's antipathy for Krylenko comes out repeatedly in remarks and asides about his fall from Stalin's grace in 1938 and execution by the very system he puts together.

Solzhenitsyn works from an intact copy of Krylenko's speeches delivered at the hallmark public trials in which he is the "accuser" (prosecutor), which supplement the heavily redacted stenographic records. Krylenko is shown in action, prosecuting the major trials, consistently demanding severe sentences, and, when the court gives light ones, appealing to the newly formed All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK). Krylenko applauds the VTsIK as an expedient advance over Western "separation of powers," because the early Soviet courts are creating law on the fly and serving as political weapons. When Dzerzhinsky...

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This section contains 1,837 words
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Buy The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956 Study Guide
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