Sunday, August 3, 2008

Russian author Solzhenitsyn dies

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Soviet dissident writer and Nobel Literature Prize winner, has died. He was 89.

The ITAR-Tass news agency cited his son Stepan as saying that he died late on Sunday of heart failure.

Solzhenitsyn served with the Red Army in the second world war, but became one of the most prominent dissidents of the Soviet era, enduring labour camps, cancer and persecution by Soviet officialdom.

He was born on December 11, 1918, studied physics and mathematics at Rostov University and became a Soviet army officer after Hitler's invasion in 1941.

Solzhenitsyn's experience in the network of labour camps was vividly described in his book, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.

His major works, including The First Circle and Cancer Ward, brought him world admiration and the 1970 Nobel Literature Prize.

Solzhenitsyn was stripped of his citizenship and sent into exile in 1974 after the publication of The Gulag Archipelago, his monumental history of the Soviet police state.

He settled in the US, returning to post-Soviet Russia as a hero in 1994.

More at Al Jazeera
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