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reports and thoughts on legal issues, music, Orthodox Christianity and/or whatever else strikes my interest

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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)

"We have placed too much hope in political and social reforms, only to find out that we were being deprived of our most precious possession: our spiritual life." - Solzhenitsyn's Harvard Address (1978)

"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" - The Gulag Archipelago - Part I, The Prison Industry, Ch. 4 "The Bluecaps"

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn died today at the age of 89.

An obituary from the New York Times can be read here.

Solzhenitsyn was a famed Russian novelist and historian who wrote a number of critically acclaimed works.

He was also one of the most important dissidents of the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to the Gulag prison system beginning in 1945. He was imprisoned in various hard labor camps for ten years. After he was released from prison he was forced to live in internal exile for the remainder of his years in the Soviet Union. His experiences in the Gulag led him to write his greatest work: The Gulag Archipelago, which is one of the most important historical writings of the 20th Century.

Other important Russian artists and writers (including Mstislav Rostropovich and Yevgeny Yevtushenko) attempted to aid and defend Solzhenitsyn from the persecutions of the Soviet government. They, in turn, were persecuted as well.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.

He was formally stripped of his citizenship and exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974. He settled in Vermont and lived there quietly for almost twenty years as he continued writing.

He returned to Russia in 1994. He was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation for his lifetime of humanitarian work in 2007 by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

May his memory be eternal!



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