Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who exposed Stalin's prison system in his novels and spent 20 years in exile, has died near Moscow at the age of 89.
The author of The Gulag Archipelago and One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, who returned to Russia in 1994, died of either a stroke or heart failure.
He was one of the first to talk about the inhumane Stalinist regime and about the people who experienced it but were not broken.
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7540038.stm (external - login to view)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER
(Solzhenitsyn's death) "is a heavy loss for the whole of Russia. We are proud that Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was our countryman and contemporary. We will remember him as a strong, brave person with enormous dignity.
MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FORMER LEADER OF THE SOVIET UNION
Like millions of citizens, Solzhenitsyn lived through tough times. He was one of the first to talk about the inhumane Stalinist regime and about the people who experienced it but were not broken.
Until the end of his days he fought for Russia not only to move away from its totalitarian past but also to have a worthy future, to become a truly free and democratic country. We owe him a lot.
NICOLAS SARKOZY, FRENCH PRESIDENT
His intransigence, his ideals and his long, eventful life make Solzhenitsyn a hero from a novel, an heir to Dostoyevsky. He belongs to the pantheon of world history. I pay homage to his memory.
I read quite a few of his books. As a Russian citizen he wasn't treated any better than my brother, a POW in the Siberian Gulag.
How he described the cattle cars in which Stalin transported all his prisoners... just like my brother experienced and was lucky enough to tell us about after the war's end.
I admired Solzhenitsyn. He opened up the brutal Stalin regime and exposed it to the world at a time when it was still very dangerous to do so. He had courage!