Friday, December 10, 2010

In Good Company

Boris Pasternak was named the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958.  He is best known for the novel Doctor Zhivago, an epic which spanned the last days of the Russian Empire and the early days of the Soviet Union.  The novel was made into a movie in 1965, one of the greatest movies ever made.  With a touching story, grand scenery, and moving music.  He was pressured by the then Soviet authorities to decline the award.  He died in 1960.  In 1988, Doctor Zhivago was finally published in Russia.   

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was the author of Gulag Archipelago, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The First Circle, The Cancer Ward, ...  Books that helped the world learn about the oppression, and particularly the forced labour camps in the Soviet Union.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.  He was prevented from accepting the  award, and expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974.   He returned to Russia in 1994, and died in 2008.

Andrey Sakharov was a Soviet nuclear physicist who became an outspoken advocate of human rights, civil liberties and reform in the Soviet Union.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1975.  The Soviet government prevented him from leaving the country to attend the Nobel Ceremony in Oslo.  In 1980 he was exiled to the closed city of Gorky (now Nizhny Novgorod).  In 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev released him from exile.  He died in 1989.  The Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, and Sarkharov was remembered.

Liu Xiaobo is in good company. 


1 comment:

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