Russian literary giant, Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died at the age of eighty-nine. In his works, he exposed to the world the tyranny of Soviet Communism. He is survived by his wife and three sons.
Born December 11th, 1918, Mr. Solzhenitsyn was raised in the Russian Orthodox faith. But by the time he was a teenager, he had embraced Communism. When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Mr. Solzhenitsyn enlisted in the army. In 1945, the Soviet secret police arrested him on charges of "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda." Mr. Solzhenitsyn was sentenced to eight years in a labor camp. He served an additional three years in exile in Soviet Central Asia. It was during this time that he gradually abandoned Marxism-Leninism and returned to Orthodox Christianity.
Under Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, Mr. Solzhenitsyn was freed from exile and achieved fame with his first novel, "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich." Inspired by personal experience, the book chronicles a single day in the life of a prisoner in a Soviet prison camp.
Mr. Solzhenitsyn later began work on "The Gulag Archipelago," a trilogy exposing the Soviet prison labor network. His writings put him increasingly at odds with the Communist regime until finally he was exiled in 1974. Although "The Gulag Archipelago" was not published in Russia until after the Soviet collapse, excerpts and copies made their way around. George F. Kennan, a former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union and an architect of postwar U.S. foreign policy, called "The Gulag" the "greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be leveled in modern times."
Alexander Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970, but was unable to accept it until after his exile in 1974. His other books include "The First Circle," and "Cancer Ward." During his years in the U.S. he completed work on the "Red Wheel," his historical novel on the Russian Revolution.
On May 27th, 1994, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was able to return to his native Russia where he continued to write. Through a lifetime of experience, Mr. Solzhenitsyn said, "gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart."