(Reuters) - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Russian novelist and Soviet dissident through his writings on the police state, has died aged 89, the Russian news agency Interfax reported on Sunday.
Here are some facts about Solzhenitsyn:
— Solzhenitsyn was born on December 11, 1918. He served in the Red Army in World War Two but in 1945 was convicted for criticising Stalin’s conduct of the war, and spent the next decade in prison camps and internal exile.
— He came to literary prominence in 1962 with “One Day on the Life of Ivan Denisovich”, a short novel based on his own labour camp experiences, the only work published in his homeland during Soviet rule.
— For his later writings, published abroad, he was stripped of his citizenship and put on a plane to West Germany in 1974 for refusing to keep silent about his country’s past, and became an icon of resistance to the communist system from his American home in Vermont.
— He received the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature for a body of work including “The First Circle” (1968), and “Cancer Ward” (1968). His monumental history of the Soviet police state, “The Gulag Archipelago”, was published in Paris in three volumes between 1973 and 1978.
— He made a hero’s return to Russia in 1994, then reeling from the fall of the Soviet Union. But far from celebrating the shape of a homeland freed from the shackles of communism, he railed against its heady materialism and corruption.