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Russian Author Aleksander Solzhenitsyn Dead At 89

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Russian news agencies are reporting that author Aleksander Solzhenitsyn died Sunday at the age of 89. The BBC has more:

The author of One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich and the Gulag Archipelago, who returned to Russia in 1994, reportedly died of a stroke.

The Nobel laureate had suffered from high blood pressure in recent years.

After returning to Russia, Solzhenitsyn wrote several polemics on Russian history and identity.

The New York Times has more about Solzhenitsyn's literary career and impact in their obituary:

"Gulag" was a monumental account and analysis of the Soviet labor camp system, a chain of prisons that by Mr. Solzhenitsyn's calculation some 60 million people had entered during the 20th century. The book led to his expulsion from his native land. George F. Kennan, the American diplomat, described it as "the greatest and most powerful single indictment of a political regime ever to be leveled in modern times."

Mr. Solzhenitsyn was heir to a morally focused and often prophetic Russian literary tradition, and he looked the part. With his stern visage, lofty brow and full, Old Testament beard, he recalled Tolstoy while suggesting a modern-day Jeremiah, denouncing the evils of the Kremlin and later the mores of the West.

In almost half a century, more than 30 million of his books have been sold worldwide and translated into some 40 languages. In 1970 he was awarded the Nobel prize for literature.

Mr. Solzhenitsyn owed his initial success to the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's decision to allow "Ivan Denisovich" to be published in a popular journal. Khrushchev believed its publication would advance the liberal line he had promoted since his secret speech in 1956 on the crimes of Stalin.