Solzhenitsyn, chronicler of Soviet gulag, dies.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn died yesterday in Russia. Read about it below and see photos and a video.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn died late Sunday at his home outside of Moscow, Russia. He was 89-years-old. There have been conflicting reports of the cause of his death. His wife, Natalya, was with him. His son, Stepan Solzhenitsyn, declined to give any further information about his father’s death.

Solzhenitsyn was a life-long dissident and Nobel Prize-winning author who wrote about the horrors of the Soviet gulag system. His writings came out of his own experiences from an eight year period of time in which he was imprisoned in a gulag for criticizing the Soviet communist party and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. His accounts of the Soviet Union’s slave labor camps, in which tens of millions of Russians died, are recorded in his books, ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ and the ‘Gulag Archipelago’ trilogy.

Following his release from the gulag, he continued his criticism of the soviet system. He wrote pamphlets and books on the history of Russia. His books were banned in the Soviet Union, but he continued his criticism. Finally, in 1974, he was stripped of his citizenship and sent out of the country.

He ended up in the United States and lived in Vermont for the 20 years that he lived in exile. He was highly critical of the West, even while the United States gave him shelter and support though out his exile. He complained that the West was ‘decadent’ and ‘immoral’. He complained that Western-style democracy was not a workable form of government.

He claimed he was not anti semitic, but in the early 20th century he wrote extensively about his view that Jews had been a negative influence to Russia.

In 1990, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev restored Russian citizenship to Solzhenitsyn and he returned to Russia in 1994. Post-Soviet Russia has embraced him, but he has remained critical of what he viewed as the decadence of the post-Soviet system. He stated it was still far from what he had envisioned.

In spite of all his criticism of communism and Stalin, in the end he was viewed a Nationalist. Just last year, he spoke of returning Russia to its former prominence, power and influence in the world.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn – Video