Aug 6, 2008

Donskoi Monastery Gets A Writer in Residence

Russians do love a funeral. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's did not dissapoint as it turned into a grand state affair.

The event was all the more telling, since Solzhenitsyn was one of two people to ever be stripped of their Soviet citizenship and expelled from the USSR (Trotsky was the fist). Back in 1973, the KGB was nice enough not to put a garden ax through Solzhenitsyn's forehead (sorry Trotsky), but instead left him on a runway in Germany with 300 deutschmarks and a used coat.

These days, bygones are bygones, and Solzhenityn was lucky to live long enough for his death to become a political event.

President Medvedev even cut short a trip to be front and center as the mourner-in-chief. As it happens, the event was also broadcast live on state television. Reportedly, Medvedev cried as the body of Solzhenitsyn was lowered into the ground.

In the end, Solzhenitysn's earthly remains received the honors of a full military band, an official rifle salute, and a presidential decree renaming an -- as yet unnamed -- Moscow avenue in his honor.

Pasternak must be pissed.

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