Alexander Solzhenitsyn Dies at 89

Russian author and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn died at age 89, of heart failure. While Solzhenitsyn is probably now best known for writing Gulag Archipelago, which provided considerable detain in documenting the horror of the labor camps in the Soviet Union, when Gulag Archipelago came out he was already well known in the United States. His first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, was based upon his own experiences in the labor camps. Other novels included The Cancer Ward and the Nobel Prize winning First Circle.

Solzhenitsyn was deported from the Soviet Union and stripped of his citizenship in 1974 as the Soviet government hoped that removing him from the country would reduce his influence. Ultimately it was the Soviet Union which collapsed. Solzhenitsyn’s citizenship was restored in 1990 and he returned to Russia in 1994. While he continued to write in his later years, his nationalist and anti-capitalist views, and his view of the west as decadent,  limited his influence in post-Soviet Russia.

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