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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has passed away

The sad news is going out at this hour that Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel-winning novelist who spent decades in exile from his homeland in the Soviet Union after describing the evils of its prison system, has died at the age of 89.

Solzhenitsyn served as an officer in the Red Army during World War II (and I don't care what some people might say about it, but the Russian men and women who defended their homeland against the Nazis were among the bravest and most noble of the past century, and I've nothing but the utmost admiration for them, regardless of how nuts Stalin was). After the war, Solzhenitsyn became one of his country's most prominent dissidents, and was quickly relegated to Siberia.

It was his experiences as a prisoner of his own government that Solzhenitsyn would draw from later on, when he wrote One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and then The Gulag Archipelago. While the western world came to admire and love him, the Soviet leadership cast him out. He spent twenty years living abroad before being hailed as a hero when he returned to a now-free Russia in 1994.

You know, we don't have very many writers like that anymore. The kind whose works can get people thinking and rile them up enough to overturn entire corrupt nations. I sure don't know of any of Solzhenitsyn's stature among us today. There's a huge void, a need, for writers like that and with Solzhenitsyn's passing, the need became that much greater.

Don't know what else to say, except...

Бог благословляет, храбрейший ратник. Мы пропустим вас.