Aleksandr solzhenitsyn russian dissident

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*Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was becoming a dissident against the U.S.S.R. and the restricting communist government after he was arrested for the first time. He, through his entire life, was willing to sacrifice everything he had in order to point out that censorship was wrong and people should be able to speak their mind.

*His childhood years were very rough. Aleksandr (pronounced Alexander) was born in Kisovodsk, Russia on December 11, 1918 (Academic American Encyclopedia Sno-Sz, p 59). His father was an artillery officer in World War I, and his mother was a typist and stenographer. Aleksandr never knew his father, because he died in a hunting accident before Aleksandr was born. After his father died, the Soviet government only allowed menial employment to his mother, so his family lived in relative poverty. Other than that, Aleksandr's childhood was relatively normal. He was a member of the Pioneers, the Soviet equivalent to Boy Scouts, and later joined the Communist Youth League.

At the age of nine he decided he wanted to be a writer, and before he was eighteen he decided that he was going to write a novel about the Russian Revolution. He said that during his childhood he "bore this social tension - on one hand, they used to tell me everything at home, and on the other, they used to work our minds at school. And so this collision between two worlds gave birth to such social tension inside me that somehow defined the path I was to follow for the rest of my life." Aleksandr had little literary education and read few western novels, and later said he regretted it (Major 20TH Century Writers, p 2792-2793).

*After grade school Aleksandr went to the University of Rostov-on-Don and graduated in 1941, majoring in mathematics and physics (Encarta...