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Solzhenitsyn's Family Responds To Man Who Defaced Writer's Statue

The monument to Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in Vladivostok

The widow and sons of Nobel Prize-winning Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn have published an open letter to a self-proclaimed Stalinist who desecrated a monument to the writer in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok.

The monument was unveiled on September 5. A couple days later a man hung a sign reading "Judas" around the statue's neck and posted a video statement calling Solzhenitsyn "a traitor, an anti-Soviet person, and a Russophobe."

The man said that he had earlier applied to the city authorities for permission to erect a monument to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in the city and had been rejected.

In an open letter published in the Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta on September 10, Solzhenitsyn's family noted that Solzhenitsyn called on all Russians to evaluate their history justly and to admit their mistakes.

"We continue to frivolously divide our fellow countrymen into 'ours' and 'traitors' because as a country we have not condemned and repented of the crimes of the communist regime against its own people," they wrote.

They expressed wonder that a young man would want to erect a monument to Stalin in a city where thousands of citizens were murdered under the dictator and through which hundreds of thousands of people were sent to labor camps in the Kolyma region.