Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the great Russian dissident has passed away. I found his books to be very moving. In The Gulag Archipelago and A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, he did more than any other Russian writer to expose the crimes of communism. The books were written between 1958 and 1968, provided a combination of eyewitness testimony, primary research material, as well as the author's own experiences as a prisoner in a Gulag labour camp.
Solzhenitsyn's opposition to the communist regime was in large part a result of a term that he was forced to serve in in a Gulag slave labor camp for writing a letter critical of Joseph Stalin while serving in the Soviet Army during World War II.Unlike some of the other dissidents during the 1970s, Solzhenitsyn was a Russian nationalist, not a liberal democrat. He was also critical of Western-style democracy and did not believe in individual rights. Solzhenitsyn made the absurd claim that the czarist-era Russian government was not anti-Semitic and that Russian Jews bear as much or more blame than Russian gentiles do for the historic conflicts between the two groups.
Overall, the good Solzhenitsyn did greatly outweighs his misguided statements on some issues. Solzhenitsyn deserves to be remembered for the strength he showed during his years in the Gulag and for his courage in resisting and exposing the crimes of a brutal totalitarian regime.