Many of his works Solzhenitsyn could not publish in the Soviet Union – they originally came out in the Western world and only much later got published in Russia.
Attention of the West to Solzhenitsyn
In 1963-1969 in translation several works by Solzhenitsyn were published, and some of the publications happened without his consent.
In 1970 Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Both Solzhenitsyn and the Soviet leadership considered that fact a political act.
In 1973 Solzhenitsyn agreed to a foreign publication of “The Gulag Archipelago.”
The publication of “The Gulag Archipelago”, the Nobel Prize became the impetus to organized condemnation of Solzhenitsyn.
Despite the fact that not all of the Soviet leaders shared the view of persecuting Solzhenitsyn, who was basically just a documentalist of only one, albeit infamous chapter of the Soviet history, in 1974, Solzhenitsyn was deprived of Soviet citizenship and taken on a plane to Germany.
In 1974 Solzhenitsyn published “Letter to the Leaders of the Soviet Union,” in which he called to “save our national body and our national spirit” by using “not an ideology of generalviolence, but Orthodoxy.” With this nationalist publication Solzhenitsyn pushed away many of his supporters, including Andrei Sakharov.
After several quite unpleasant statements with regards to western reality Solzhenitsyn continued losing his support in the West.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1994) / Evstafiev
With the beginning of perestroika in the Soviet Union it became possible to publish Solzhenitsyn’s works.
In 1990Solzhenitsyn was given back his Soviet citizenship. Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia in 1994. Solzhenitsyn received many official awards, prizes, he became the member of the Russian Academy of Sciencesand received a state residence.
Initial criticism of the first Russian reforms was replaced by the criticism of the West.
Opinions about Solzhenitsyn
Opinions about Solzhenitsyn in their diversity resemble more an assessment of a politician rather than a writer. Solzhenitsyn is praised for his courage in describing the Soviet repressive apparatus with the eyes of a common man, while at the same time he is harshly criticized for demonization of Russia, for spreading a negative image of the Soviet nomenclature on the whole nation.
Judging by such a polar range of opinions about Solzhenitsyn, he really made it as a publicist.
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