>Alexander Solzhenitsyn dies aged 89

>For those who have read his famous condemnations of the Soviet gulag system which spread wide over the Siberian permafrost (and in some ways still do), trapping the brightest and most enlightened to misery and death, one of our great writers died today. For like the death of Norman Mailer and unlike so many other praised authors, Solzhenitsyn was a writer who mattered. He mattered to us, to them and to mankind. His honesty, bravery and eloquence opened up silenced worlds and highlighted the totalitarian frauds and abuse inflicted on millions of people across nations.

The gulag prison system is an example of control at its most was pointlessness and wasteful. His mainly autobiographical One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich released in 1962 is a concise masterpiece covering the daily drudge, fear, abuse and pointlessness of a man’s struggle to survive the bitter conditions imposed by inhuman nepotism and narcissism.

Solzhenitsyn had spent 8 years in a camp for anti-Soviet activities but was somewhat fortunate to publish in the post-Stalin era. Khrushchev took a more original line of dissidents. Molotov, the ex-foreign minister under Stalin for example, was sent to be ambassador of Mongolia. So Solzhenitsyn was merely exiled to Kazakhstan and later expelled completely. He recieved the Noebl Prize for Literature in 1970.

He quietly settled in Vermont in the States only to be allowed to return to Russia in 1994. He was welcomed home a hero, a guiding light in those dark days.

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