A day in the life of Alexander Solzhenitsyn

An exhibition opened in Moscow about the great dissident writer of the Soviet era, on the occasion of the centenary of his birth.

The body of Alexander Solzhenitsyn was exposed on 6 August 2008 in the Donskoy monastery in Moscow. He died of cardiac arrest three days earlier, at the age of 89.

This was undoubtedly a special day in the life of the writer, then on 18 November 1962 the magazine Novy Mir (New World) published in Russia the first novel by Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008), A day by Ivan Denissovich. "Come quickly to the editor, your expenses are reimbursed"He had telegraphed him for a few months now to the chief editor of the Soviet literary magazine, Alexandr Tvardovsky. The latter, with admiration for this short 75-page report on the daily life of a prisoner in the Gulag – a testimony subsequently published in the USSR – will take eleven months to convince the authorities to give the green light to its publication.

Only a few weeks before the release of the novel Tvardovsky still spoke directly to Nikita Khrushchev, then the first secretary of the Communist Party of the USSR, in a letter of September 1962. " [Soljenitsyne] is unknown, but tomorrow it can become a name in our literature "he wrote. At that time the writer was known only to the services of the political police. Arrested in 1945 for criticism of Stalin in a private correspondence, sentenced to eight years of camping "Counter-revolutionary activity", he was released in 1953, a few days before the death of the Soviet leader. These years inspired him his first novel that long ago knew The Gulag Archipelago (1973), a huge impact in Russia.

It was then called "Ryazansky" – a sobriquet that he will not keep – because he settled in the city of Ryazan, 200 km south of Moscow. "I just read Ryazansky, also in favor of the poet and playwright Samouil Marchak, who translated in Russian the works of William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling or Jane Austen. It is a small but very important story. No sense left me indifferent and everything in it, we see it …