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Last Updated: Friday, 28 April 2006, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Solzhenitsyn warns of Nato plot
Alexander Solzhenitsyn. File photo
Solzhenitsyn defends traditional Russian values
Russian writer and Nobel laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn has castigated Nato, accusing it of trying to bring Russia under its control.

In a rare interview, the 87-year-old author accused Nato of "preparing to completely encircle Russia and deprive if of its sovereignty".

Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the USSR in 1974 after having exposed the Soviet labour camp system.

He returned to Russia in 1994. He has been a stern critic of Western values.

'Thoughtless imitation'

In the interview published on Friday in the Moscow News, he lamented that "Western democracy is in a serious state of crisis".

He pointed to the pro-Western opposition victories in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine as evidence that Nato's influence was spreading closer to Russia.

"This involves open material and ideological support for the 'colour revolutions' and the paradoxical forcing of North Atlantic interests on Central Asia," he said.

He praised President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy as "sensible" but stressed that "an awful lot in Russia has yet to be lifted out of decline".

He added that Russia had "opted for the most thoughtless form of imitation" of the West.

On Thursday, Mr Putin warned that Western opposition to Russian expansion in European markets could force Moscow's companies to look elsewhere.

Solzhenitsyn won international acclaim in the 1970s for his descriptions of Soviet hard labour in such works as A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.

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