He was born three years before Russia’s October Revolution, and served in the Red Army during World War II. But in 1945, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was arrested for criticizing Stalin, and spent eight years in a labor camp. The experience reshaped his political opinions and inspired his most famous works, including The Gulag Archipelago (1973). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970, but was hounded by the KGB, stripped of his citizenship, and expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974. He remained in exile for 20 years, before being allowed back in Russia in 1994 — after the fall of the USSR — where he died ten years ago on this day.

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn — © Bert Verhoeff / Anefo / OneShot

This photo was taken in 1974, during Solzhenitsyn's stay at his friend Heinrich Böll's home, in Langenbroich, West Germany. He had been deported from the Soviet Union only two days earlier.


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