Solzhenitsyn has heart trouble

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Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who fought the Soviet Union before turning his fire on capitalist Russia, has been admitted to hospital with a heart condition, his assistant announced yesterday.

"He feels all right and did not have a heart attack," said Munira Urazova.

The 79-year-old Nobel laureate was admitted to the Central Clinical Hospital on 12 May

Solzhenitsyn won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970 for writings which publicised the harshness of the Soviet prison camp system, in which he spent nearly a decade.

Expelled from the Soviet Union in 1974, Solzhenitsyn lived in exile in the US for 20 years before returning to Russia, where he attacked its new leaders for being just as bad as the communists.

The author of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, First Circle and Cancer Ward has led a discreet life since his weekly television programme was taken off the air in 1995. The bearded firebrand, who says his country has lost its spiritual roots and favours a kind of 19th century rural nationalism, was widely criticised for being out of touch with modern Russia after his long exile.

Reuters, Moscow