Evgeniia Ivanova Institute of World Literature, Moscow The Choice of Hero and Subject in Solzhenitsyn Solzhenitsyn has frequently stated that from the very first moment he realized the meaning of his mission as a writer, he felt the presence in his life of an “embedded goal:” his main purpose was always to write a novel about the revolution. At first this work was to be entitled People of the Revolution (abbreviated as – ЛЮР – Люди революции) and later R-17 or The Revolution of 1917. He has pursued this goal throughout his entire creative life. Even the great success of his other works did not make him doubt that he must fulfill it and that, moreover, he was the only person who could accomplish this task. Consequently, his epic The Red Wheel (whose genre Solzhenitsyn defines as “a narrative in discrete stretches of time”) is in every way his most important work. Yet, few others share this view of the Red Wheel. Many critics, even those sympathetic to the writer, even people who may be called his brothers-in-arms, admit that they consider The Red Wheel a failure – because, they say, the narrative is so long and overloaded with detail and because it fuses together fiction and documents. It is a common place among critics to compare The Red Wheel unfavourably with all those works they consider truly fictional, such as “Matrena’s Home,” Cancer Ward and The First Circle. However, it is obvious that none of these works exists independently of the idea of R-17. Each one undermines the myths surrounding the revolution. A commentator has defined the meaning of the impact of Solzhenitsyn’s tale “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” on the consciousness of society in these terms: “As attributes of the cult of personality, tyranny and cruelty were directed against working people and the common folk: this is the chief message of ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.’” The tale destroyed a major myth of the revolution, namely, that it gave working people the opportunity to develop freely. In turn, “Matrena’s House” negated the notion that the revolution had brought about spiritual freedom from religion and had marked the dawn of a new life in the Russian countryside. When Matrena dies, the last of the righteous ones is gone, yet a village cannot stand without a righteous person, as the author states at the end of the story. The theme of the revolution is present throughout the novel The First Circle. The most significant aspect of this central idea is developed in the two characters who actually took part in the revolution and remained faithful to it. These two men, Abramson and Rubin, have a Trotskyist past and they continue to believe that Stalin distorted the ideas of the revolution. The decisive blow to the idea of the revolution was delivered by “The Gulag Archipelago,” especially in the context of everything that had been written and published about the labor camps in the USSR until then. One of the most frequently cited of these sources is the book Prison and Exile by Ivanov-Razumnik; in his interpretation, the Soviet prison derived from the prison of tsarist time and was merely marked by greater cruelty. Solzhenitsyn was the first to show that there was no continuity. On the contrary, when the former inmates of tsarist prisons decided to design their own penitentiary system, they used their personal experience of state-inflicted incarceration and punishment to make it more perfect. Solzhenitsyn depicted not only the network of camps and jails, but the state within the state that had been created in the USSR – one that was not only execrably inhuman but also transformed a large part of the population into slaves under the pretense of rehabilitation through work. Slave labor was used for solving economic problems. It would appear that The Gulag Archipelago amounts to the most scathing indictment ever of the Bolshevik revolution. This book may be viewed as the fulfillment of the idea of R-17, because it shows the history of all social strata and all political parties, both those which had been the rivals and those which had been the allies of the Bolsheviks at various times. But as we know, it was at this point that Solzhenitsyn decided to restart work on R-17. An important step in this process was the publication of Lenin in Zurich, in which he for the first time portrayed the person who would be the main hero of his future epic novel R-17. It is worth noting that most of those who have written about this work mention the artistic authenticity of Lenin’s portrait. Those who had considered Solzhenitsyn their ally because, as they saw it, he had shown how the party had deviated from Leninist principles, now broke with him. The inner theme of R-17 acquired its final form as an extended answer to the question of what made the revolution possible in the first place, and why the machine of government, the political parties and political leaders turned out to be so powerless to stop it. For Solzhenitsyn, the search for an answer to this question was, in fact, his “embedded goal”.