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Grigory Baklanov

Grigory Baklanov, who died on 23 December aged 86, was a Russian author and editor who wrote fiction which tapped into his Second World War experience.

Baklanov was recruited into the Red Army months after the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union. He went to the front line as an 18-year-old private and witnessed the bitter Soviet defeats early in the war, then rose through the ranks to become an artillery officer.

Baklanov was badly wounded in combat and received several medals for valour. His works, such as An Inch of Land, Forever Nineteen," July 1941 and The Dead Shouldn't Be Shamed, have been widely published in the former Soviet Union and abroad. Baklanov won the prestigious State Prize of the Soviet Union.

During Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, Baklanov played a prominent role as the editor of Znamya, a leading literary monthly. Znamya helped spearhead Gorbachev's glasnost drive, publishing works previously banned by Communist censors and exposing the crimes of Stalin and his henchmen.