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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 3:58 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Victoria
The author of The Gulag Archipelago has died, aged 89.

Solzhenitsyn was an author and playwright who served as an officer in the Red Army during the Second World War, being twice decorated. In February 1945, he wrote a letter to his friend criticising Stalin’s conduct of the war and making fun of his moustache. For this, he was arrested, beaten, interrogated and sent to a labour camp, or Gulag, in Siberia. Following Stalin’s death, he was allowed to return to European Russia. There, he secretly wrote and published his most famous book, The Gulag Archipelago, which revealed the extent of the oppression in the Soviet Union. It won him both a Nobel Prize and exile from his homeland. Following the Soviet Union’s collapse, he returned to Russia and was awarded the nation’s highest honour, the State Prize, for his work in the humanities.

He is hugely important for finally showing the world how bad conditions in the Soviet Union really were, and ending hope among western intelligentsia that Soviet Communism offered any sort of alternative to Liberal Democracy. Also, few others have pitted themselves and themselves alone against a totalitarian state with so much success. His words achieved what nothing else could have.

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