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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Solzhenitsyn Compares NATO, Hitler

Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn delivered a stinging rebuke of NATO for bombing Yugoslavia, comparing the Atlantic alliance to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, and denounced justifications for the air campaign as hypocritical and self-serving.

"NATO has brought us into a new era, just as Hitler did when he quit the League of Nations and World War II began," Solzhenitsyn said at a Tuesday night ceremony at which he awarded his Solzhenitsyn Prize for literature to poet Inna Lisnyanskaya.

He said the NATO decision to bypass the United Nations had introduced a new era of might makes right: "The aggressors have tossed the UN aside and begun a new era when the strong bear down and dictate their will."

Solzhenitsyn, who won the 1970 Nobel Prize for literature, said that no one should "hold onto illusions that this bloc aims to defend the Kosovars."

"If they were seriously concerned about defending the oppressed, they could, over the past 40 or 50 years, have defended the Kurds, for example, who are scattered across several countries, annihilated and unfortunate," he said. "But they didn't do it because Turkey is a useful ally."

Solzhenitsyn also pointed to Tibet, occupied by China, telling Russian television the West stayed out of Tibet "because you don't tangle with China."

NATO says it is bombing to pressure Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to end human rights violations against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

For NATO "it was such good luck - the Serbs are a defenseless target," he said, calling the attack a self-serving show of strength. NATO "can show its beak and talons."

Solzhenitsyn, expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974 for challenging Soviet power in his writings, has also criticized Western democracies as morally bankrupt. In a 1978 speech, he blamed Western humanist ideology for casting the world into a "harsh spiritual crisis and a political impasse."

Since he returned to Russia in 1994, he has urged the government to follow a "Russian path" and abandon Western models of development. But his advice has been ignored, and he has remained largely out of the public eye.