May 27

This Day in History

General Interest

May 27, 1994:

Solzhenitsyn returns to Russia

Two decades after being expelled from the USSR, Nobel laureate Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn returns to Russia in an emotional homecoming.

In 1945, Solzhenitsyn was sentenced to eight years of hard labor for criticizing Stalin in a letter to a friend. His prison experiences formed the basis for One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, his famous first novel. In 1970, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature and began work on The Gulag Archipelago, his vast history of the Soviet totalitarian system, from Lenin's ascension to the official Soviet denunciation of Stalin. Foreign publication of this work led to his expulsion from the USSR in 1974, and he settled in the United States. Soviet officials dropped charges of treason against Solzhenitsyn in 1990. One year later, the Soviet Union collapsed and in 1994 Solzhenitsyn returned home. There, he continued writing and often publicly criticized the post-Soviet Russian government.

Solzhenitsyn died of heart failure in Moscow on August 3, 2008. He was 89.

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