Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (11 December 1918 – 3 August 2008) was a Russian novelist, philosopher, historian, short story writer and political prisoner. One of the most famous Soviet dissidents, Solzhenitsyn was an outspoken critic of communism and helped to raise global awareness of political repressions in the Soviet Union, in particular the Gulag concentration camp system.
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (11 December 1918 – 3 August 2008) was a Russian novelist, philosopher, historian, short report writer and political prisoner. One of the most well-known Soviet dissidents, Solzhenitsyn was an outspoken critic of communism and helped to raise global awareness of political repressions in the Soviet Union, in particular the Gulag incorporation camp system.
Solzhenitsyn was born into a relations that defied the Soviet anti-religious disconcert and remained devout members of the Russian Orthodox Church. While still young, however, Solzhenitsyn in limbo his faith in Christianity and became a fixed believer in both incredulity and Marxism–Leninism, in his well along life, he gradually became a philosophically-minded Eastern Orthodox Christian fittingly of his experience in prison and the camps. While serving as a captain in the Red Army during World War II, Solzhenitsyn was arrested by the SMERSH and sentenced to eight years in the Gulag and next internal exile for criticizing Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in a private letter.
As a repercussion of the Khrushchev Thaw, Solzhenitsyn was released and exonerated, and he returned to the Christian faith of his childhood and pursued writing novels roughly repressions in the Soviet Union and his experiences. He published his first novel, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962, with commend from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, which was an account of Stalinist repressions. Solzhenitsyn’s last play-act to be published in the Soviet Union was Matryona’s Place in 1963. Following the removal of Khrushchev from power, the Soviet authorities attempted to discourage him from continuing to write. Solzhenitsyn continued to work on further novels and their notice in new countries including Cancer Ward in 1968, August 1914 in 1971, and The Gulag Archipelago in 1973 incensed the Soviet authorities, and Solzhenitsyn drifting his Soviet citizenship in 1974 and was flown to West Germany. In 1976 he moved taking into consideration his relations to the United States, where he continued to write. In 1990, shortly previously the withdrawal of the Soviet Union, his citizenship was restored, and four years sophisticated he returned to Russia, where he remained until his death in 2008.
He was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature “for the ethical force as soon as which he has pursued the critical traditions of Russian literature”. His The Gulag Archipelago was a terribly influential behave that “amounted to a head-on challenge to the Soviet state” and sold tens of millions of copies.
Solzhenitsyn was born in Kislovodsk, RSFSR (now in Stavropol Krai, Russia). His mother, Taisiya Zakharovna (née Shcherbak), was of Ukrainian and his dad of Russian descent. Her daddy had risen from mortify beginnings to become a rich landowner, acquiring a large estate in the Kuban region in the northern foothills of the Caucasus. During World War I, Taisiya went to Moscow to study. While there she met and married Isaakiy Semyonovich Solzhenitsyn, a young overseer in the Imperial Russian Army of Cossack pedigree and fellow native of the Caucasus region. The relatives background of his parents is vividly brought to vigor in the commencement chapters of August 1914, and in the later Red Wheel novels.
In 1918, Taisiya became pregnant past Aleksandr. On 15 June, shortly after her pregnancy was confirmed, Isaakiy was killed in a hunting accident. Aleksandr was raised by his widowed mother and his aunt in lowly circumstances. His outdated years coincided taking into account the Russian Civil War. By 1930 the relations property had been turned into a total farm. Later, Solzhenitsyn recalled that his mother had fought for relic and that they had to keep his father’s background in the archaic Imperial Army a secret. His educated mother (who never remarried) encouraged his studious and scientific learnings and raised him in the Russian Orthodox faith; she died in 1944.
As further on as 1936, Solzhenitsyn began developing the characters and concepts for a planned epic work upon World War I and the Russian Revolution. This eventually led to the novel August 1914; some of the chapters he wrote then yet survive. Solzhenitsyn studied mathematics and physics at Rostov State University. At the similar time he took correspondence courses from the Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature and History, at this grow old heavily ideological in scope. As he himself makes clear, he did not question the welcome ideology or the unfriendliness of the Soviet Union until he spent get older in the camps.
During the war, Solzhenitsyn served as the commander of a sound-ranging battery in the Red Army, was operating in major acquit yourself at the front, and was twice decorated. He was awarded the Order of the Red Star upon 8 July 1944 for sound-ranging two German artillery batteries and adjusting counterbattery fire onto them, resulting in their destruction.
A series of writings published late in his life, including the further on uncompleted novel Love the Revolution!, chronicle his wartime experience and growing doubts approximately the moral foundations of the Soviet regime.
While serving as an artillery manager in East Prussia, Solzhenitsyn witnessed lawsuit crimes adjoining local German civilians by Soviet military personnel. Of the atrocities, Solzhenitsyn wrote: “You know very skillfully that we’ve inherit Germany to take our revenge” for Nazi atrocities on the go in the Soviet Union. The noncombatants and the elderly were robbed of their meager possessions and women and girls were gang-raped. A few years later, in the annoyed labor camp, he memorized a poem titled “Prussian Nights” about a girl raped to death in East Prussia. In this poem, which describes the gang-rape of a Polish woman whom the Red Army soldiers mistakenly thought to be a German, the first-person narrator comments on the deeds with sarcasm and refers to the responsibility of official Soviet writers in imitation of Ilya Ehrenburg.
In The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn wrote, “There is nothing that in view of that assists the awakening of omniscience within us as insistent thoughts nearly one’s own transgressions, errors, mistakes. After the difficult cycles of such ponderings higher than many years, whenever I mentioned the heartlessness of our highest-ranking bureaucrats, the verbal abuse of our executioners, I recall myself in my Captain’s shoulder boards and the focus on march of my battery through East Prussia, enshrouded in fire, and I say: ‘So were we any better?'”
In February 1945, while serving in East Prussia, Solzhenitsyn was arrested by SMERSH for writing derogatory remarks in private letters to a friend, Nikolai Vitkevich, about the conduct of the charge by Joseph Stalin, whom he called “Khozyain” (“the boss”), and “Balabos” (Yiddish rendering of Hebrew baal ha-bayit for “master of the house”). He plus had talks following the same friend practically the habit for a other organization to replace the Soviet regime.[clarification needed]
He was accused of anti-Soviet propaganda under Article 58 paragraph 10 of the Soviet criminal code, and of “founding a bitter organization” under paragraph 11. Solzhenitsyn was taken to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, where he was interrogated. On 9 May 1945, it was announced that Germany had surrendered and everything of Moscow broke out in celebrations as soon as fireworks and searchlights illuminating the way of being to celebrate the victory in the Great Patriotic War. From his cell in the Lubyanka, Solzhenitsyn remembered: “Above the muzzle of our window, and from anything the further cells of the Lubyanka, and from all the windows of the Moscow prisons, we too, former prisoners of engagement and former front-line soldiers, watched the Moscow heavens, patterned in imitation of fireworks and crisscrossed in the same way as beams of searchlights. There was no rejoicing in our cells and no hugs and no kisses for us. That victory was not ours.” On 7 July 1945, he was sentenced in his non-attendance by Special Council of the NKVD to an eight-year term in a labour camp. This was the normal sentence for most crimes below Article 58 at the time.
The first portion of Solzhenitsyn’s sentence was served in several feint camps; the “middle phase”, as he higher referred to it, was spent in a sharashka (a special scientific research aptitude run by Ministry of State Security), where he met Lev Kopelev, upon whom he based the air of Lev Rubin in his book The First Circle, published in a self-censored or “distorted” version in the West in 1968 (an English translation of the full description was eventually published by Harper Perennial in October 2009). In 1950, he was sent to a “Special Camp” for political prisoners. During his imprisonment at the camp in the town of Ekibastuz in Kazakhstan, he worked as a miner, bricklayer, and foundry foreman. His experiences at Ekibastuz formed the basis for the book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. One of his fellow diplomatic prisoners, Ion Moraru, remembers that Solzhenitsyn spent some of his time at Ekibastuz writing. While there Solzhenitsyn had a tumor removed. His cancer was not diagnosed at the time.
In March 1953, after his sentence ended, Solzhenitsyn was sent to internal exile for life at Birlik, a village in Baidibek District of South Kazakhstan. His undiagnosed cancer onslaught until, by the stop of the year, he was close to death. In 1954, he was permissible to be treated in a hospital in Tashkent, where his tumor went into remission. His experiences there became the basis of his novel Cancer Ward and plus found an echo in the terse story “The Right Hand.” It was during this decade of imprisonment and exile that Solzhenitsyn on your own Marxism and developed the philosophical and religious positions of his far along life, gradually becoming a philosophically-minded Eastern Orthodox Christian so of his experience in prison and the camps. He repented for some of his happenings as a Red Army captain, and in prison compared himself to the perpetrators of the Gulag. His transformation is described at some length in the fourth portion of The Gulag Archipelago (“The Soul and Barbed Wire”). The narrative poem The Trail (written without pro of pen or paper in prison and camps in the midst of 1947 and 1952) and the 28 poems composed in prison, forced-labour camp, and exile also come in the works with the grant for crucial material for harmony Solzhenitsyn’s intellectual and spiritual odyssey during this period. These “early” works, largely unknown in the West, were published for the first period in Russian in 1999 and excerpted in English in 2006.
On 7 April 1940, while at the university, Solzhenitsyn married Natalia Alekseevna Reshetovskaya. They had just higher than a year of married life back he went into the army, then to the Gulag. They divorced in 1952, a year past his release, because wives of Gulag prisoners faced loss of take steps or habitat permits. After the end of his internal exile, they remarried in 1957, divorcing a second time in 1972.
The in the ventilate of year Solzhenitsyn married his second wife, Natalia Dmitrievna Svetlova, a mathematician who had a son from a brief prior marriage. He and Svetlova (born 1939) had three sons: Yermolai (1970), Ignat (1972), and Stepan (1973). Solzhenitsyn’s adopted son Dmitri Turin died upon 18 March 1994, aged 32, at his house in New York City.
After Khrushchev’s Secret Speech in 1956, Solzhenitsyn was freed from exile and exonerated. Following his return from exile, Solzhenitsyn was, while teaching at a secondary speculative during the day, spending his nights namelessly engaged in writing. In his Nobel Prize greeting speech he wrote that “during whatever the years until 1961, not lonesome was I convinced I should never look a single lineage of mine in print in my lifetime, but, also, I scarcely dared allow any of my close acquaintances to read everything I had written because I feared this would become known.”
In 1960, aged 42, he approached Aleksandr Tvardovsky, a poet and the chief editor of the Novy Mir magazine, with the manuscript of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. It was published in reduced form in 1962, with the explicit acclamation of Nikita Khrushchev, who defended it at the presidium of the Politburo hearing upon whether to allow its publication, and added: “There’s a Stalinist in each of you; there’s even a Stalinist in me. We must root out this evil.” The book speedily sold out and became an instant hit. In the 1960s, while he was publicly known to be writing Cancer Ward, he was simultaneously writing The Gulag Archipelago. During Khrushchev’s tenure, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was studied in schools in the Soviet Union, as were three more terse works of Solzhenitsyn’s, including his quick story “Matryona’s Home”, published in 1963. These would be the last of his works published in the Soviet Union until 1990.
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich brought the Soviet system of prison labour to the attention of the West. It caused as much of a sensation in the Soviet Union as it did in the West—not deserted by its striking veracity and candor, but then because it was the first major piece of Soviet literature back the 1920s on a politically charged theme, written by a non-party member, indeed a man who had been to Siberia for “libelous speech” about the leaders, and nevertheless its declaration had been officially permitted. In this sense, the publication of Solzhenitsyn’s savings account was an vis-Ð°-vis unheard of instance of free, unrestrained a breath of spacious air of politics through literature. However, after Khrushchev had been ousted from faculty in 1964, the epoch for such raw exposing works came to an end.
Solzhenitsyn made an unsuccessful attempt, with the help of Tvardovsky, to have his novel Cancer Ward legally published in the Soviet Union. This required the commendation of the Union of Writers. Though some there appreciated it, the statute was ultimately denied proclamation unless it was to be revised and cleaned of suspect statements and anti-Soviet insinuations.
After Khrushchev’s removal in 1964, the cultural climate anew became more repressive. Publishing of Solzhenitsyn’s work quickly stopped; as a writer, he became a non-person, and, by 1965, the KGB had seized some of his papers, including the manuscript of The First Circle. Meanwhile, Solzhenitsyn continued to incognito and feverishly work on the most renowned of his writings, The Gulag Archipelago. The seizing of his novel manuscript first made him desperate and frightened, but gradually he realized that it had set him forgive from the pretenses and bits and pieces of creature an “officially acclaimed” writer, a status which had become up to date but which was becoming increasingly irrelevant.
After the KGB had confiscated Solzhenitsyn’s materials in Moscow, during 1965–67, the preparatory drafts of The Gulag Archipelago were turned into done typescript in hiding at his friends’ homes in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn had befriended Arnold Susi, a lawyer and former Estonian Minister of Education in a Lubyanka Prison cell. After completion, Solzhenitsyn’s native handwritten script was kept hidden from the KGB in Estonia by Arnold Susi’s daughter Heli Susi until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
In 1969, Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Union of Writers. In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He could not receive the prize personally in Stockholm at that time, since he was afraid he would not be allow back into the Soviet Union. Instead, it was suggested he should get the prize in a special ceremony at the Swedish embassy in Moscow. The Swedish management refused to take this solution because such a ceremony and the ensuing media coverage might upset the Soviet Union and broken Swedish-Soviet relations. Instead, Solzhenitsyn conventional his prize at the 1974 ceremony after he had been expelled from the Soviet Union.
The Gulag Archipelago was composed from 1958 to 1967. It was a three-volume, seven-part work upon the Soviet prison camp system. The baby book drew from Solzhenitsyn’s experiences and the testimony of 256 former prisoners and Solzhenitsyn’s own research into the archives of the Russian penal system. It discusses the system’s origins from the founding of the Communist regime, with Vladimir Lenin having responsibility, detailing interrogation procedures, prisoner transports, prison camp culture, prisoner uprisings and revolts, and the practice of internal exile. According to Gulag historian Anne Applebaum, The Gulag Archipelago’s rich and varied authorial voice, its unique weaving together of personal testimony, philosophical analysis, and historical investigation, and its unrelenting indictment of communist ideology made it one of the most influential books of the 20th century. The Gulag Archipelago has sold exceeding thirty million copies in thirty-five languages.
On 8 August 1971, the KGB allegedly attempted to assassinate Solzhenitsyn using an unidentified chemical agent (most likely ricin) with an experimental gel-based delivery method. The attempt left him seriously ill but he survived.
Although The Gulag Archipelago was not published in the Soviet Union, it was extensively criticized by the Party-controlled Soviet press. An editorial in Pravda on 14 January 1974 accused Solzhenitsyn of supporting “Hitlerites” and making “excuses for the crimes of the Vlasovites and Bandera gangs.” According to the editorial, Solzhenitsyn was “choking in the atmosphere of pathological disgust for the country where he was born and grew up, for the socialist system, and for Soviet people.”
During this period, he was sheltered by the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who suffered considerably for his retain of Solzhenitsyn and was eventually annoyed into exile himself.
In a expression of its options in dealing behind Solzhenitsyn the members of the Politburo considered his arrest and imprisonment and his expulsion to a capitalist country affable to accept him. Guided by KGB chief Yury Andropov, and in the vent of a statement from West German Chancellor Willy Brandt that Solzhenitsyn could living and achievement freely in West Germany, it was fixed to deport the writer directly to that country.
On 12 February 1974, Solzhenitsyn was arrested and deported the bordering day from the Soviet Union to Frankfurt, West Germany and stripped of his Soviet citizenship. The KGB had found the manuscript for the first share of The Gulag Archipelago. US military attaché William Odom managed to smuggle out a large allocation of Solzhenitsyn’s archive, including the author’s association card for the Writers’ Union and his Second World War military citations. Solzhenitsyn paid rave review to Odom’s role in his memoir Invisible Allies (1995).
In West Germany, Solzhenitsyn lived in Heinrich Böll’s house in Langenbroich. He after that moved to Zürich, Switzerland previously Stanford University invited him to stay in the United States to “facilitate your work, and to accommodate you and your family”. He stayed at the Hoover Tower, part of the Hoover Institution, before upsetting to Cavendish, Vermont, in 1976. He was unmodified an honorary teacher degree from Harvard University in 1978 and on 8 June 1978 he gave a instigation address, condemning, among new things, the press, the nonexistence of spirituality and traditional values, and the anthropocentrism of Western culture.
On 19 September 1974, Yuri Andropov approved a large-scale operation to discredit Solzhenitsyn and his relations and clip his communications in imitation of Soviet dissidents. The mean was jointly approved by Vladimir Kryuchkov, Philipp Bobkov, and Grigorenko (heads of First, Second and Fifth KGB Directorates). The residencies in Geneva, London, Paris, Rome and additional European cities participated in the operation. Among new active measures, at least three StB agents became translators and secretaries of Solzhenitsyn (one of them translated the poem Prussian Nights), keeping the KGB informed regarding anything contacts by Solzhenitsyn.
The KGB plus sponsored a series of discordant books roughly Solzhenitsyn, most notably a “memoir published under the reveal of his first wife, Natalia Reshetovskaya, but probably mostly composed by Service”, according to historian Christopher Andrew. Andropov as well as gave an order to create “an tune of distrust and suspicion amongst Pauk and the people with mention to him” by feeding him rumors that the people on him were KGB agents, and deceiving him at all opportunity. Among further things, he continually established envelopes once photographs of car crashes, brain surgery and new disturbing imagery. After the KGB harassment in Zürich, Solzhenitsyn contracted in Cavendish, Vermont, reduced communications next others. His distress and moral authority for the West diminished as he became increasingly deserted and critical of Western individualism. KGB and CPSU experts finally concluded that he alienated American spectators by his “reactionary views and intransigent criticism of the US artifice of life”, so no extra active trial would be required.
Over the next-door 17 years, Solzhenitsyn worked upon his dramatized chronicles of the Russian Revolution of 1917, The Red Wheel. By 1992, four sections had been completed and he had furthermore written several shorter works.
Despite spending just about two decades in the United States, Solzhenitsyn did not become fluent in spoken English. He had, however, been reading English-language literature previously his teens, encouraged by his mother. More importantly, he resented the idea of becoming a media star and of tempering his ideas or ways of talking in order to battle television. Solzhenitsyn’s warnings just about the dangers of Communist aggression and the weakening of the moral fiber of the West were generally with ease received in Western conservative circles (e.g. Ford administration staffers Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld advocated upon Solzhenitsyn’s behalf for him to talk directly to President Gerald Ford practically the Soviet threat), prior to and next to the tougher foreign policy pursued by US President Ronald Reagan. At the same time, liberals and secularists became increasingly critical of what they perceived as his reactionary preference for Russian nationalism and the Russian Orthodox religion.
Solzhenitsyn also scratchily criticised what he motto as the ugliness and spiritual vapidity of the dominant pop culture of the campaigner West, including television and much of popular music: “…the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today’s deposit living habits… by TV stupor and by intolerable music.” Despite his criticism of the “weakness” of the West, Solzhenitsyn always made positive that he admired the political freedom which was one of the long-lasting strengths of Western democratic societies. In a major speech delivered to the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein on 14 September 1993, Solzhenitsyn implored the West not to “lose sight of its own values, its historically unique stability of civic life below the decide of law—a hard-won stability which grants independence and atmosphere to all private citizen.”
In a series of writings, speeches, and interviews after his reward to his indigenous Russia in 1994, Solzhenitsyn spoke very nearly his devotion for the local self-government he had witnessed first hand in Switzerland and New England. He “praised ‘the sensible and clear process of grassroots democracy, in which the local population solves most of its problems upon its own, not waiting for the decisions of unconventional authorities.'” Solzhenitsyn’s patriotism was inward-looking. He called for Russia to “renounce all angry fantasies of foreign conquest and begin the peaceful long, long long period of recuperation,” as he put it in a 1979 BBC interview gone Latvian-born BBC journalist Janis Sapiets.
In 1990, his Soviet citizenship was restored, and, in 1994, he returned to Russia once his wife, Natalia, who had become a United States citizen. Their sons stayed at the rear in the United States (later, his eldest son Yermolai returned to Russia). From later until his death, he lived later his wife in a dacha in Troitse-Lykovo in west Moscow in the middle of the dachas in the same way as occupied by Soviet leaders Mikhail Suslov and Konstantin Chernenko. A staunch zealot in standard Russian culture, Solzhenitsyn expressed his disillusionment taking into account post-Soviet Russia in works such as Rebuilding Russia, and called for the instigation of a strong presidential republic balanced by operating institutions of local self-government. The latter would remain his major diplomatic theme. Solzhenitsyn furthermore published eight two-part sharp stories, a series of contemplative “miniatures” or prose poems, and a literary memoir on his years in the West The Grain Between the Millstones, translated and released as two works by the University of Notre Dame as allocation of the Kennan Institute’s Solzhenitsyn Initiative. The first, Between Two Millstones, Book 1: Sketches of Exile (1974-1978), was translated by Peter Constantine and published in October 2018, the second, Book 2: Exile in America (1978-1994) translated by Clare Kitson and Melanie Moore and published in October 2020.
Once assist in Russia Solzhenitsyn hosted a television chat show program. Its eventual format was Solzhenitsyn delivering a 15-minute monologue twice a month; it was discontinued in 1995. Solzhenitsyn became a supporter of Vladimir Putin, who said he shared Solzhenitsyn’s essential view towards the Russian Revolution.
All of Solzhenitsyn’s sons became US citizens. One, Ignat, is a pianist and conductor. Another Solzhenitsyn son, Yermolai, works for the Moscow office of McKinsey & Company, a government consultancy firm, where he is a senior partner.
Solzhenitsyn died of heart failure near Moscow upon 3 August 2008, at the age of 89. A burial help was held at Donskoy Monastery, Moscow, on 6 August 2008. He was buried the similar day in the monastery, in a spot he had chosen. Russian and world leaders paid praise to Solzhenitsyn behind his death.