Tomorrow would have been Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 96th birthday. I was exposed to his writing while majoring in political science at Appalachian State University in the early 1970s. It was a different time. We were in the midst of “the Cold War.” I was intrigued by Mr. Solzhenitsyn’s courage to write about the horrors of Russian labor camps and his time in prison for daring to criticize Joseph Stalin’s running of the Soviet Union’s World War II effort.
Mr. Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, but did not receive the award until 1974 due to political circumstances. The KGB is said to have made an attempt on his life in 1971. He died in Moscow in 2008 at the age of 89.
I will prepare a Russian dish, beef stroganoff, for dinner tonight in honor of the bravery of Aleksandr Solzenitsyn and the richness of his writings, including The Gulag Archipelago, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, August 1914, and Cancer Ward.