Solzhenitsyn 'to return to Russia soon'

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The Independent Online
MOSCOW - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the 75-year-old writer banished by Soviet authorities and derided as a brilliant but misguided crank by Russian liberals, will return home in a 'matter of months', his wife said yesterday, writes Andrew Higgins.

It was the strongest indication that, nearly three years after Moscow lifted treason charges, the author of The Gulag Archipelago, implacable foe alike of Communism and modern Western values, might end nearly two decades of exile, most spent in a farmhouse in Vermont in the US.

One obstacle to his return has been lengthy haggling over a house the government has promised him. Moscow authorities are building a villa overlooking the Moscow River, but Solzhenitsyn has yet to say where he would like to live.

President Boris Yeltsin has appealed for him to return, and the writer has repeatedly sent word that he intends to. But he has also said he must first finish a monumental work on the Bolshevik revolution.

His wife, Natalya, told Itar-Tass news agency yesterday: 'There is no doubt about our family returning to Russia. We are coming back very soon. It is now a matter of months.'

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