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Literary giant Alexander Solzhenitsyn dies, 8 -

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Literary giant Alexander Solzhenitsyn dies, 89

Broadcast: 04/08/2008

Reporter: Geoff Simms

Literary giant, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, has died aged 89. Solzhenitsyn opened the world's eyes to
the brutality of Stalin's labour camps and spent years in enforced exile.


TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the literary giant who went from Russian outcast to
Russian hero is dead. He was 89 years old.

Solzhenitsyn opened the world's eyes to Stalin's labour camps. He spent decades in forced exile
then returned home in triumph only to be disillusioned by what he found.

Geoff Sims reports.

GEOFF SIMS, REPORTER: His works about Stalinist rule sent shivers down the spines of readers and
shock waves around the worlds. The Nobel Prize for Literature followed.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn had come through the horrors of the Second World War defending his country,
only to endure eight years of imprisonment for daring to criticise Joseph Stalin.

Like so many others Solzhenitsyn became just a number, ironically he was a maths teacher, but he
turned to writing.

'1 Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich', set inside a Siberian labour camp, was published in the
Soviet Union on the authority of Stalin's successor Nikita Khrushchev.

Later came 'The Gulag Archipelago' which had to be published abroad. Solzhenitsyn was forced to
leave the country and for nearly 20 years lived in the United States. He laboured over a major work
'The Red Wheel', but it was regarded as turgid and moralistic.

Solzhenitsyn went home in 1994, but soon became disillusioned with what it had become. He even
refused to accept Russia's highest award offered by President Boris Yeltsin.

ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN, AUTHOR (translation): I can not accept an award from the supreme authority
which has led Russia to its present ruinous state.

GEOFF SIMS: Later Solzhenitsyn accepted an award for humanitarian achievements by President
Vladimir Putin. His son Ignat, an acclaimed concert pianist, paid tribute to his Dad in Sydney 7
years ago.

IGNAT SOLZHENITSYN (2001): What he stands for is very meaningful to me.

GEOFF SIMS: Alexander Solzhenitsyn died after a stroke in Moscow. He was 89.

Geoff Sims, Lateline.