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Friday, December 11, 1998 Published at 22:10 GMT


World: Europe

Solzhenitsyn rejects Yeltsin's medal


The Russian writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, has refused to accept a state medal from President Boris Yeltsin to mark his eightieth birthday.

Mr Solzhenitsyn said he could not accept the Order of St Andrew from a leader who had reduced Russia to a state of ruin.

A presidential spokesman said Mr Solzhenitsyn was free to decline the medal, even though President Yeltsin thought it would honour his outstanding contributions to Russia and world literature.

MrSolzhenitsyn's novels and plays chronicled the atrocities in Soviet prison camps.

He returned to Russia in 1994 after living for nearly twenty years in the United States.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service



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