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Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)


Russian author and historian, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn continued the realistic tradition of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and complemented it with his views of the flaws of both East and West. In the 1960s and 1970s he produced a number of major novels based on his own experiences of Soviet prisons and hospital life. Later he saw that his primary mission is to rewrite the Russian history of the revolutionary period in the multivolumed work The Red Wheel (1983-1991).

"The wind was whistling over the plain, It was hot and dry in the summer and freezing cold in winter. Nothing would ever grow on that plain, even without the barbed wire. The only grain they knew about grew in the place where they handed out the bread ration, and oats ripened only in the camp stores. And you could kill yourself with work here or you could lay down and die, but you'd never beat any more food out of this earth that what the Commandant handed over." (in One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, translated by Max Hayward and Ronald Hingley, introduction by Max Hayward and Leopold Labedz, Bantam Books,1963, p. 82)

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn descended from an intellectual Cossack family. He was born in Kislovodsk in the northern Caucasus Mountains, between the Black and Caspian seas. His father, Isaaki Solzhenitsyn, a tsarist artillery officer, was killed in an hunting accident six months before Aleksandr's birth. During WW I he had served on the front, where he married Taissia Shchberbak, Solzhenitsyn's mother.

To support herself and her son, Taissia worked in Rostov as a typist and did extra work in the evenings. Because the family was extremely poor, Solzhenitsyn had to give up his plans to study literature in Moscow. Instead he enrolled in Rostov University, where he studied mathematics and physics, graduating in 1941. He also took correspondence courses in literature at Moscow State University. In 1940, he married Natalia Alekseevna Reshetovskaia; they divorced in 1950, and remarried in 1957. By 1968, his family life with her was over. Before they divorced officially in 1973, Natalia made a suicide attempt by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. This contributed to Solzhenitsyn's decision not to apply for a travel permit to Stockholm for the Nobel ceremony.

When Solzhenitsyn was writing The Gulag Archipelago, he would get up at one A.M. and work until nine; after a break he worked until six, then he ate dinner, went to bed at seven P.M., slept till one, and started again. Mostly, Solzhenitsyn lived at his country cottage in Rozhdestvo, or at the homes of friends, or at the dacha of the cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich. To get away from his watch dogs, Solzhenitsyn shaved his well-know patriarchal beard in 1965, and took a train to Estonia, where Arno Susi offered him a refuge for a few months in the Vasula village.

In 1973, Solzhenitsyn married in Natalia Svetlova. "Moreover, I had dreamed in vain of finding a male friend whose ideas would be as close to my own as were those that Natasha came out with unprompted," Solzhenitsyn confessed in an autobiographical account. "As if this were not enough, she revealed a deep-rooted, innate spiritual affinity with everything quintessentially Russian, as well as an unusual concern and affection for the Russin language." (Great Souls: Six Who Changed a Century by David Aikman, Lexinton Books, 2003, p. 172) They had three sons, Yermolai, Stephan, and Ignat. Dmitri was the son from Svetlova's first marriage to Prof. Andrei Tiurin. Svetlova, born in 1939, was a postgraduate of the mechanical department of Moscow State University.

During the Great Patriotic War, Solzhenitsyn achieved the rank of captain of artillery and was twice decorated. He entered East Prussia with the Red Army in  January 1945, witnessing the systematic murder, rape and destruction committed by the troops. The epic poem Prussian Nights, which he wrote in Ekibastuz, was based on these experiences. "Well, now we're getting our revenge lads. / We've hit him good and hard, the foe! / Everything's aflame." (Ibid., translated from the Russian by Robert Conquest, Fontana/Collins, 1978, p. 13) At the end also the nameless narrator, who had stood aloof, rapes a German woman, who begs him not to shoot her: "Doch, erschiessen Sie mich nicht!" (Ibid., p. 103)

From 1945 to 1953, Solzhenitsyn was imprisoned for writing a letter in which he criticized Joseph Stalin - "the man with the mustache." Solzhenitsyn served in the camps and prisons near Moskow, and in a camp in Ekibastuz, Kazakhstan (1945-53). During these years, Solzhenitsyn's double degree in mathematics and physics saved him mostly from hard physical labour, although in 1950 he was taken to a new kind of camp, created for political prisoners only, where he worked as a manual laborer.

"An the Kolyma was the greatest and most famous island, the pole of ferocity of that amazing country of Gulag, which, though scattered in an archipelago geographically, was, in the psychological sense, fused into a continent—an almost invisible, almost imperceptible country inhabited by the Zek people." (from 'Preface', The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation I-II, translated from the Russian by Thomas P. Whitney, Harper & Row, 1974, pp. ix-x)

After a short stint at Marfino, a specialized prison that employed mathematicians and scientist in research, Solzhenitsyn was transferred to forced-labour camp in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic; there he developed stomach cancer.

Between 1953 and 1956 Solzhenitsyn was exiled to South Kazakhstan village of Kok-Terek. To supported himself Solzhenitsyn worked as a mathematics and physics teacher, and when nobody was around, he wrote in secret. Later these experiences became basis for the novels Rakovyi Korpus I-II (1968-69, The Cancer Ward) and V kruge pervom (1968, The First Circle). The full 96-chapter version of the latter book was published for the first time in Russian in 1978. After rehabilitation, Solzhenitsyn settled in Riazan as a teacher.

At the age of 42, Solzhenitsyn had written a great deal, but published nothing. After Nikita Khrushchev had publicly condemned the "cult of personality" - an attack on Stalin's heritage - the political censorship loosened its tight grip for a period. Solzhenitsyn's first book, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, appeared in the leading Soviet literary journal Novyi Mir. It marked the beginning of Soviet prison-camp literature (a whole new genre in the lirerary sphere). For a period Khrushchev considered it useful for his anti-Stalin campaign.

Solzhenitsyn utilized the third-person direct speech in examining the Soviet life through the eyes of a simple Everyman. The style is clear and honest. Solzhenitsyn slim volume gained fame both in the USSR and the West, and was compared with Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel House of the Dead. With the royalties, Solzhenitsyn bought a green Moskvich car.

Novyi Mir published also the stories 'Matryona's Home' and 'An Incident at Krechetovka Station', but rejected Cancer Ward , in which Kostoglotov, the protagonist, was a semi-authorial figure. The characters confront questions of life and death, truth and falsehood - emphasized by the discussion of Lev Tolstoi's What Do Men Live For? in the ward. Stalinism is paralleled with the tragedy of those in the hospital suffering from cancer: an informer has cancer of the tongue.

The First Circle was set during the late 1940s and early 1950s, and drew a picture of a class of intellectuals, research scientists, caught up in the system of prisons and camps. They are forced to work for the secret police, and debate endlessly about politics and the principles of morality. The title of the book referred to the least painful circle of Hell in Dante's Inferno. However, if the prisoners do not produce satisfactory work, they will found themselves in the lower circles of the labor camps. Among fictional characters were "real people" – Sologdin's model was Dimitri Panin, who acknowledged the general accuracy of Solzhinitsyn's vision in his memoirs, The Notebooks of Sologdin (1972), but objected to the negative portrayal of himself.

The period of official favour lasted only a few years. Between the years 1963 and 1966 Solzhenitsyn managed to publish only four stories and finally all his manuscripts were censored. Khrushchev himself was forced into retirement in 1964. The KGB confiscated The First Circle and other writings in 1965. Solzhenitsyn refused to join his colleagues who campaigned against lenghty prison sentences for dissidents, because he "disapproved of writers who sought fame abroad." But in 1969 he was expelled in absentia from the Writers' Union. "Dust off the clock face," Solzhenitsyn said in his open letter after the expulsion, but he did not release it at once. "You are behind the times. Throw open the sumptuous heavy curtainyou do not even suspect that day is already dawning outside." (Solzhenitsyn: A Biography by Michael Scammell, W. W. Norton & Co., 1984, p. 676)

From 1971 his unpublished manuscripts were smuggled to the West and published there. These works secured Solzhenitsyn's international fame as one of the most prominent opponents of government policies. After the KGB had seized  copy of The Gulag Archipelago hidden in the USSR, the book was published by the YMCA Press in Paris. The KGB agents sought to poisonSolzhenitsyn with ricin, to cause serious injury without intention to kill. Solzhenitsyn had blisters, the largest of which were fifteen centimeters in diameter.

Rejecting the ideology of his youth, Solzhenitsyn came to believe that the struggle between good and evil cannot be resolved among political parties, classes or doctrines, but is waged within the individual human heart. During the Cold War years, this Tolstoian view and search for Christian morality was considered radical in the Soviet Union. As the great 19th-century Russian authors, Solzhenitsyn assumed the role of an observer. "So why should I read Anna Karenina again? Maybe it's enough—what I've experienced. Where can people read about us? Us? Only in a hundred years' time?" says a woman in Cancer Ward. (Ibid., translated from the Russian by Nicholas Bethell and David Burg, Bantam Books, 1969, p. 479) Solzhenitsyn became a chronicler, witness whose own experiences fuelled his passion for truth.

For The Gulag Archipelago (Gulag stands for "Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps") Solzhenitsyn collected excerpts from documents, oral testimonies, eyewitness reports, and other material, which all was politically inflammable. The detailed account of the network of prison and labor camps - scattered like islands in a sea - in Stalin's Russia angered the Soviet authorities and Solzhenitsyn was arrested and charged with treason. "A a greater writer—forgive me, perhaps  shouldn't say this, I'll lover my voice—a great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country," Solzhnenitsyn wrote in The First Circle. "That's why no regime anywhere has ever loved its great writers, only its minor ones." (Ibid., translated from the Russian by Thomas P. Whitey, Bantam Books, 1969, p. 415)

As it had been with Boris Pasternak, the Soviet government denounced Solzhenitsyn's Nobel Prize as a politically hostile act. "When analyzing the materials on Solzhenitsyn and his work, one cannot fail to arrive at the conclusion that we are dealing with a political opponent of the Soviet state and social system ... If Solzhenitsyn continues to reside in the country after receiving the Nobel Prize, it will strenghten his position, and allow him to propaganda his views more actively," cautioned the KGB chief Yuri Andropov in a secret memorandum. (The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, Basic Books, 1999, p. 312)

In 1974, the author was exiled from the Soviet Union. He lived first in Switzerland and moved then in 1976 to the United States, where he continued to write series called The Red Wheel, an epic history of the events, that led to the Russian Revolution. August 1914 (1971), constructed in fragmented style, focused on the defeat of the Russian Second Army in East Prussia. Although Solzhenitsyn did not have much sympathy for intentionally experimental, avant-garde literature, he used also in this work documents, proverbs, songs, newspapers, and imitation film scripts. With these technical devices Solzhenityn managed to create a broad social picture of this crucial moment of history.

"Exile from his great theme, Stalinism and the Gulag, had exposed his major weakness. Whatever its origins—and I suspect it was born early in his life – an overpowering repression would not allow him to penetrate below the conscious level of his mind. In his earlier works this did not matter, for he was able to externalize his unconscious: the savage, Inferno-esque vision of Gulag is, in a sense, a projection of his own repressed violence—on a gargantuan scale, because of the intensity of the repression. Lacking a strong fictive sense, he could never have invented and Inferno, as Dante did; he didn't need to, because this Russian Inferno existed. He hacked the salamander out of the ice. No one else in world literature, ever, could have done it." (Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Cemtury in His Life by D.M. Thomas, St. Martin's Press, 1998, p. 484) 

In the town of Cavendish in southern Vermont, Solzhenitsyn took up a reclusive life. He never met his countryman, the poet Joseph Brodsky, who worked in South Hadley, Massachusetts, only an hour and a half drive away. Brodsky, a Nobel laureate too, criticized Solzhenitsyn's opinion that Russia is the keeper of certain values that the West has betrayed, saying that this was "monstrous nonsense." Basically their difference reflected the old quarrel between Slavophiles and Westernizers. Solzhenitsyn accused the West of lack of faith, of moral degeneration, and political cowardice. In the 1983 Templeton Prize lecture he said, "men have forgotten God".

After collapse of the Soviet Union Solzhenitsyn returned from Vermont to his native land in 1994. The new regime, led by Mikhail S. Gorbachev, had offered to restore his citizenship already in 1990, and next year his treason charges were formally dropped. Solzhenitsyn made a sensational whistle-stop tour through Siberia. His journey from Vladivostok to Moscow was sponsored by the BBC. Noteworthy, in the United States Solzhenitsyn had turned down all Presidential invitations to the White House, but in Russia he gave an address to the Duma. With President Boris Yeltsin he talked for four hours and they even had a little vodka. Solzhenitsyn's comment afterwards: the meeting was completely useless. He felt that Yeltsin permitted an enormous devastation of Russia.

Solzhenitsyn settled in Moscow, where he continued to criticize western materialism and Russian bureaucracy and secularization. Western democratic system meant for Solzhenitsyn "spiritual exhaustion" in which "mediocrity triumphs under the guise of democratic restraints." "Six decades for our people and three decades for the people of Eastern Europe, during that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience," he said in a speech given in Harvard in 1979. "The complex and deadly crush of life has produced stronger, deeper, and more interesting personalities than those generated by standardized Western well-being. Therefore, if our society were to be transformed into yours, it would mean an improvement in certain aspects, but also a change for the worse on some particularly significant points. Of course,  society cannot remain in an abyss of lawlessness, as is the case in our country." (A World Split Apart: Commencement Address Delivered at Harvard University, June 8, 1978, Harper & Row, 1978, p. 35)  These old Russian ideals were already explicit in the character of Matryona in 'Matryona's House'. Its narrator meets a saintly woman, whose life has been full of disappointments but who helps others. "None of us who lived close to her perceived that she was that one righteous person without whom, as the saying goes, not city can stand. Nor the world." (Matryona's House, and Other Stories, translated by Michael Glenny, Penguin Books, 1978, p. 47)

In modern Russia Solzhenitsyn was soon labelled as "a reactionary utopian." His basic message was that the only salvation is to abandon materialist world view and return to the virtues of Holy Russia. Due to low ratings, Solzhenitsyn's 15-minute talk show was cancelled a year after it was started, but the television adaptation of The First Circle, broadcasted in 2006, gained a huge audience.

The Solzhenitsyn Prize for Russian writing was established in 1997. Since his return Solzhenitsyn, published several works, but in the West his views did not gain the former interest, with the exception of the essay Rebuilding Russia (1990) which was widely read and stirred much debate. Solzhenitsyn's later books include Rossiya v obvale (1998, Russia Collapsing), an attack on Russia's business circles and government, published by Viktor Moskvin. The first printing was 5 000 copies. He also wrote on Russian-Jewish relations in Dvestina let mveste (2001-2002); it was his last major work.

While acknowledging the plight of  Jews in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, Solzhenitsyn argued in his essay 'Repentance and Self-Limitation in the Life of Nations' (1973) that the Russians have been even more victimized: "No country in the twentieth century has suffered like ours, which within its own borders has destroyed as many as seventy million people over and above those lost in the world wars—no one in modern history has experienced such destruction." (The Slave Soul of Russia: Moral Masochism and the Cult of Suffering by Daniel Rancour-Laferriere, New York University Press, 1995, p. 238)

In January 2003 Solzhenitsyn was hospitalized with high blood pressure. "For me faith is the foundation and support of one’s life," Solzhenitsyn said in a Spiegel interview (July 23, 2007). Russian President Vladimir Putin granted in 2007 Solzhenitsyn a State Award for humanitarian achievement, saying that millions of people around the world associate Solzhenitsyn's name and work with the very fate of Russia itself. Solzhenitsyn met Putin only once. "Oh, he had quite a lot of interesting ideas," said Putin. Solzhenitsyn died from a heart condition on August 3, 2008.

For further reading: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Major Novels by Abraham Rothberg (1971); Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. by Kathryn B. Feuer (1976); Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn by S. Allaback (1978); Solzhenitsyn in Exile by J.B. Dunlop, et al. (1985); Solzhenitsyn: The Moral Vision by E.E.E. Ericson (1980); Solzhenitsyn: A Biography by M. Scammell (1985); The Great Reversal by Paul N. Siegel (1991); Solzhenitsyn and the Modern World by Edward E. Ericson (1993); One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. A Critical Companion, ed.  Alexis Klimoff (1997); Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century of His Life by D.M. Thomas (1998); Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile by Joseph Pearce (1999); Return from the Archipelago: Narratives of Gulag Survivors by Leona Toker (2000); 'Deep in the Woods: Solzhenitsyn in Moscow' by David Remnick, in Reporting (2006); Alexandre Soljénitsyne by Lioudmila Saraskina (2010); The Other Solzhenitsyn: Telling the Truth about a Misunderstood Writer and Thinker by Daniel J. Mahoney (2014); Solženitsyn: elämä ja eetos by Erkki Vettenniemi (2015); Solzhenitsyn and American Culture: The Russian Soul in the West, edited by David P. Deavel and Jessica Hooten Wilson (2020); Gulag in Writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Varlam Shalamov: Memory, History, estimony, edited by Fabian Heffermehl, Irina Karlsohn (2021); Solzhenitsyn and the Right by Spencer J. Quinn (2021) - See also: Heinrich Böll, Mikhail Sholokhov, Lennart Meri

Selected works:

  • Odin den’ Ivana Denisovicha, 1962
    - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (translators: Max Hayward and Ronald Hingley, 1963; Ralph Parker, 1963; Gillon Aitken, 1971; H. T. Willetts, 1991)
    - Ivan Denisovitsin päivä (suom. Markku Lahtela, 1963)
    - film 1970, dir. Caspar Wrede, starring Tom Courtenay, Espen Skjønberg, Alf Malland, Frimann Falck Clausen
  • Matrenin dvor, 1963
    - We Never Make Mistakes (translated by Paul W. Blackstock, 1963)
  • Dva rasskaza, 1963
  • Dlya pol'zy dela, 1964
    - For the Good of the Cause (translated by David Floyd and Max Hayward, 1964)
    - Asian etu ja muita novelleja (suom. 1974)
  • Etyudy i krokhotnye rasskazy, 1964
    - Stories and Prose Poems (translated by Michael Glenny, 1971) / Prose Poems (tr. 1971) / Matryona's House and Other Stories (tr. 1975)
  • Izbrannoe, 1965
  • Sochineniia, 1966
  • Zakhar-Kalita, 1966
  • Rakovyi korpus, 1968 (2 vols.)
  • Olen' i shalashovka, 1968 (play, as Respublika truda, in Sobraniye sochinenyi 8)
    - The Love-Girl and the Innocent (translated by Nicholas Bethell and David Burg, 1969)
  • Svecha na vetru, 1968 (play, as Svet, koroty, v tebe, in Sobraniye sochinenyi 8)
    - Candle in the Wind / The Light within You (translated by Keith Armes and Arthus Hudgins, 1973)
    - Valo joka sinussa on (suom. Esa Adrian, 1970)
  • V kruge pervom, 1968
    - The First Circle (translators: Thomas P. Whitney, 1968; Michael Guybon, 1968; Max Hayward, Manya Hariri, and Michael Glenny, 1988) / In the First Circle (translated by Harry T. Willetts, 2009)
    - Ensimmäinen piiri (suom. Esa Adrian, 1970)
    - films: Den Foerste kreds, 1973, dir.  Aleksander Ford; TV drama, 1991, dir. by Larry Sheldon, starring Robert Powell, Victor Garber, Dominic Raacke, Günther Maria Halmer, F. Murray Abraham; TV series, 2006, dir.  Gleb Panfilov
  • Rakovyi korpus I-II, 1968-69
    - The Cancer Ward (translated by Rebecca Frank, 1968) / Cancer Ward  (translated by Nicholas Bethell and David Burg, 1968) 
    - Syöpäosasto (suom. Esa Adrian, 1968)
  • Sobranie sochinenii, 1969-70 (6 vols.)
  • Solzhenitsyn: A Documentary Record, 1970 (ed. by Leopold Labedz)
  • Six Etudes by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1971 (translated by James G. Walker)
  • Avgust chetyrnadtsatogo, 1971 (expanded version, as Krasnoe koleso 1, in Sobraniye sochineniy 11-12, 1983)
    - August 1914 (translated by Michael Glenny, 1972; H.T. Willetts, 1989)
    - Elokuu neljästoista (suom. Esa Adrian, 1972)
  • Stories and Prose Poems by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1971
  • Nobelevskaya lektsiya, 1972
    - Nobel Lecture (ed. by F.D. Reeve, 1972)
    - 'Nobel-esitelmä 1970' (suom. Esa Adrian, Aika 8/1972)
  • A Lenten Letter to Pimen, Patriarch of All Russia, 1972 (translated by Keith Armes)
    - 'Kirje patriarkka Pimenille' (teoksessa Kirje Neuvostoliiton johtajille, suom. Maria Mero, 1975)
  • Pis’mo vozhdiam Sovetskogo Soiuza, 1974
    - Letter to the Soviet Leaders (translated by Hilary Sternberg, 1974)
    - Kirje Neuvostoliiton johtajille (suom. Maria Mero, 1975)
  • Solzhenitsyn: A Pictorial Autobiography, 1974
  • Arkhipelag Gulag, 1918-1956: Opyt knudozhestvennego issledovaniia I-II, 1973-76 (3 vols.)
    - The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (translated by Thomas P. Whitney, 1974-78; Thomas P. Whitney and H. T. Willetts, abridged by Edward E. Ericson, Jr., 1974- 1985)
    - Vankileirien saaristo (suom. Esa Adrian, 1974)
  • Amerikanskie rechi, 1974
  • Press-konferentsiia v TSiurikhe 16 noiabia 1974 g, 1975
    - Press Conference on the Future of Russia, Zürich, November 16, 1974 (translated by D. Pospielovksy, 1975)
  • Prusskie nochi, 1974
    - Prussian Nights: A Narrative Poem (translated by Robert Conquest, 1977)
    - Preussin yöt (suom. Olli Hyvärinen, 2014)
  • Dve press- konferentsii, 1975
  • Iz-pod glyb, 1975
    - From Under the Rubble (translated by A.M. Brock, et al., 1975)
  • Bodalsia telenok s dubom, 1975  (enlarged edition, 1996)
    - The Oak and the Calf, 1975 (translated by H.T. Willetts, 1980) 
    - Puskipa vasikka tammeen (suom. Esa Adrian, 1976)
  • Lenin v Tsiurikhe, 1975
    - Lenin in Zurich: Chapters (translated by H.T. Willetts, 1975)
    - Lenin Zürichissa (suom. Esa Adrian, 1976)
  • Detente: Prospects for Democracy and Dictatorship, 1975
  • Warning to the West, 1976 (interview, translated by H.T. Willetts)
  • Rasskazy, 1976
  • A World Split Apart, 1978 (Solzhenitsyn's 1978 Harvard address, translated by Irina Ilovayskaya Alberti)
    - Harvardin-puhe (suom. Mika Keränen, 2013)
  • Détente: Prospects for Democracy and Dictatorship, 1980 (with commentary by Alex Simirenko, et al.)
  • The Mortal Danger: How Misconceptions about Russia Imperil the West, 1980 (translated by Michael Nicholson and Alexis Klimoff)
  • East and West, 1980 (Alexis Klimoff, Irina Alberti, and Hilary Sternberg)
  • Pir pobeditelei, 1981 (play, in Sobraniye sochinenyi 8)
    - Victory Celebrations: A Comedy in Four Acts (translated by Helen Rapp and Nancy Thomas, 1983)
  • Plenniki, 1981 (play, in Sobraniye sochinenyi 8)
    - Prisoners: A Tragedy (translated by Helen Rapp and Nancy Thomas, 1983)
  • To Free China, 1982
  • Krasnoe koleso, 1983-91 (The Red Wheel series)
  • Oktyabr 1916, 1985 (2 vols., The Red Wheel series)
    - November 1916: The Red Wheel / Knot II (translated by H.T. Willetts, 2000)
    - Lokakuu 16: Punainen pyörä, toinen solmu (suom Esa Adrian, 1986)
  • March 1917, 1986 (2 vols., The Red Wheel series)
  • Three Plays: Victory Celebrations, Prisoners, The Love-Girl and the Innocent, 1986
  • The Mortal Danger: How Misconceptions about Russia Imperil America, 1986
  • Kak nam obustroit’ Rossiiu?, 1990
    - Rebuilding Russia: Reflections and Tentative Proposals (translated by Alexis Klimoff, 1991)
  • Aprel 1917, 1991 (The Red Wheel series)
  • Maloe sobranie sochinenii, 1991 (7 vols.)
  • Russkie pisateli-laureaty nobelevskoi premii, 1991
  • Izbrannoe, 1993
  • Russkii vopros, 1995
    - The Russian Question (translated byYermolai Solzhenitsyn, 1995)
  • Po minute v den’, 1995
  • Ego, 1995
  • Invisible Allies, 1995 (translated by Alexis Klimoff and Michael Nicholson)
  • Dvuchastnye rasskazy, 1996
  • Publitsistika: V trekh tomakh, 1996
  • Kak zhal'i drugie rasskazy, 1996
  • Invisible Allies, 1997
  • Proterevshi glaza, 1999
  • Sobranie sochinenii, 1999-2000 (9 vols.)
  • Na kraiakh: rasskazy i povestʹ, 2000
  • Pozhivshi v Gulage: Sbornik vospominanii, 2001
  • Nakonets-to revoliutsiia, 2001
  • Dvesti let mveste, 2001-2002 (2 vols.) [Two Hundred Years Together]
  • V kruge pervom, 2004
  • Izbrannoe, 2004
  • Dorozhenka, 2004
  • Na vozvrate dykhania, 2004
  • The Solzhenitsyn Reader: New and Essential Writings, 1947-2005, 2006 (ed. Edward E. Ericson Jr., and Daniel J. Mahoney)
  • Sobranie sochinenii, 2006- (16 vols., ed. Nataliia Solzhenitsyna)
  • Détente, Democracy and Dictatorship, 2009
  • Apricot Jam and Other Stories, 2011
  • Cancer Ward, 2015 (translated from the Russian by Nicholas Bethell and David Burg)
  • March 1917: The Red Wheel, node III (8 March/31 March), book 1, 2017 (translated by Marian Schwartz)
  • Between Two Millstones. Book 1: Sketches of Exile 1974-1978, 2018 (translated from the Russian by Peter Constantine)
  • Between Two Millstones. Book 2, Exile in America, 1978-1994, 2020 (translated from the Russian by Clare Kitson and Melanie Moore)
  • March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node iii, Book 3, 2021 (translated by Marian Schwartz)

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