Nobel Prize winning author Alexander Solzhenitsyn,
who wrote about life in Soviet slave labour camps, and spent 20 years in exile, has died at the age of 89.
One news agency said he had suffered a stroke. His son was quoted as saying he died of heart failure at his home in Moscow.
Solzhenitsyn served as an officer with the Red Army in World War Two, but was arrested for criticising Joseph Stalin in a letter.
He spent the next eight years in a labour camp or gulag, before being sent into internal exile, where he was treated for stomach cancer.
His experiences fuelled a novel, “One day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,” about life in a Siberian camp, which sparked years of KGB harassment.
His major works, including “The First Circle” and “Cancer Ward” brought him the 1970 Nobel prize.
But he could only accept it three years later, after he was exiled from Russia.
He was stripped of his citizenship after the publication of his novel, “The Gulag Archipelago” which described the years of Stalinist terror using thousands of details and individual cases.
Solzhenitsyn lived in the US for 18 years, before making a triumphant return home to Russia in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
But his nationalist views, disdain for capitalism and disgust with Russian oligarchs were unfashionable and he faded from public view.
Solzhenitsyn’s vision of Russia as a place with a unique culture and destiny, gained renewed prominence during Vladimir Putin’s presidency.
In June last year, he was awarded the State Prize, Russia’s highest honour and Putin praised his devotion to the “fatherland”.
Solzhenitsyn will be remembered for his works which inspire people in the fight for human dignity and the right to hold unpopular views.
He is survived by his wife and three sons.
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