What makes one a good Soviet? Being faithful to Stalin? Being faithful to Marx? In his novella One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Alexander Solzhenitsyn examines these questions. Solzhenitsyn implies throughout his novella that a good Soviet is faithful to Marx and the ideals of communism, not the dictatorship that Stalin created.
Among the prisoners in the camp, there is a sense of camaraderie. For example, Fetiukov saves Shukhov’s breakfast for him when he is late (p.15). Even though they are not allowed to be called “comrade,” they are each other’s comrades, and seem to embody the ideals of communism more so than the guards and other authorities. Solzhenitsyn illustrates this on page 34 when Buinosky says to the guards, “You’re not behaving like Soviet people, you’re not behaving like communists.”
Do the prisoners share comradeship because they share a common enemy and/or common struggles in life? Or did Solzhenitsyn include this element because he was influenced by the Soviet system? I think the latter is unlikely. Solzhenitsyn spent time in a Soviet prison camp, and had his citizenship revoked and was deported in 1974, so it seems doubtful that he would be concerned with Soviet ideals.
So, what makes a good Soviet? Was Stalin a good Soviet? Are the guards good Soviets? Are the prisoners? Why?