Clutching a bunch of blood red roses, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin joined hundreds of people in laying flowers at the open coffin of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The Nobel laureate, who exposed the brutality and horror of Josef Stalin’s Gulag prison system, died of heart failure on Sunday aged 89.
Four Russian soldiers stood to attention at each corner of his coffin in the Russian Academy of Sciences, the hallmark of an official lying-in-state.
Outside the mammoth white building overlooking the River Moskva, a steady trickle of mainly elderly Russians shrugged off heavy rain to mourn their hero.
Solzhenitsyn will be laid to rest in the grounds of the medieval Donskoi monastery in an Orthodox Ceremony.