Photo Galleries

The photographs contained within these galleries include both previously published images, as well as many photos from the Solzhenitsyn family's personal archives. 


1923-41: Youth

Born just after the close of the Great War, Solzhenitsyn is raised by his mother in Rostov, where he eventually attends university as a math and physics student. 


1942-53: War, Prison, Camp

While serving in the Red Army, Solzhenitsyn criticizes Joseph Stalin in private correspondence to a friend. He is arrested and punished with an eight-year sentence in the Gulag labor camps. 


1953-56: Kazakhstan Exile

After completing his prison sentence, Solzhenitsyn is forced into exile in Kok-Terek, Kazakhstan. When he's not busy teaching, he writes in earnest in secret, including his first novel, In the First Circle. He receives treatment in Uzbekistan for cancer, which was expected to kill him in three weeks’ time; he survives.


1956-57: At Matryona's 

Sentences passed under Article 58 of the Penal Code are rescinded in the wake of Krushchev's denouncement of Stalin. Solzhenitsyn moves to the Vladimir region, finds a teaching position, and rents a room from Matryona, a widow he immortalizes in Matryona's Home.


1956-71: "Ivan Denisovich"

In 1961 Solzhenitsyn submits to the literary journal Novyi Mir a short story he wrote two years prior, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. It is published in 1962 to worldwide acclaim.  In the following years he produces several important new works as the political landscape intensifies after Khrushchev's removal from power. 


1967-73: Persecution

Solzhenitsyn writes The Gulag Archipelago in hiding in Estonia in 1967. An assassination attempt by the KGB in 1971 is followed two years later by the government's seizing of his archive, including the manuscript of Gulag.


1974-75 : Deportation, Switzerland, Nobel

In 1974, Solzhenitsyn is arrested, charged with treason, and expelled to West Germany.  A few weeks later his family is allowed to join him in Switzerland.  He is finally able to receive his 1970 Nobel Prize in Literature in December 1974.


1975-94: Vermont

Solzhenitsyn settles with his family in the United States, opting to live in Cavendish, a rural town in southern Vermont.


1994-2008: Return Home

After 18 years in Vermont, Solzhenitsyn returns to Russia; his train journey from Magadan to Moscow unfolds over two months, broken up by many stops in towns along the way to take part in public gatherings with local citizens. He returns to the genre of short stories, actively participates in Russian society, and launches a literary prize.



This gallery contains a selection of photographic portraits of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.