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1974: Russian author charged with treason
The Soviet authorities have formally charged Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn with treason one day after expelling him from the country.

The writer, 55, was deported to West Germany yesterday and stripped of his Russian citizenship.

Two days ago, Mr Solzhenitsyn was arrested in his wife's Moscow flat and taken away for questioning by the Soviet secret police, the KGB.

His charge, under Article 64 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code, can be punishable with death by firing squad or a minimum of ten years in prison along with confiscation of property.

He has been under investigation for six weeks after his novel Gulag Archipelago depicting life in the labour camps was published in the West.

He has already spent a total of ten years in prison under Stalin for his dissident writings.

Soviet decree

The official Soviet news agency Tass made an announcement on its English service today.

It said: "By the decree of the Praesidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet, A I Solzhenitsyn has been stripped of citizenship of the USSR for systematically performing actions that are incompatible with being a citizen of the USSR and detrimental to the USSR and was expelled from the Soviet Union on 13 February 1974."

Nobel Prize winner Mr Solzhenitsyn flew into Frankfurt airport several hours later than expected.

About 250 journalists were waiting for him when he reached the tiny Westphalian village of Langenbroich, west of Bonn, where he is staying with 1972 Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll.

He described his exile as "unexpected" and explained. "I must simply collect myself and try to understand my situation," he told journalists. "Thank you, and I ask you now not to trouble Herr Boll or me."

Mr Solzhenitsyn's wife, Nataly, has been told she and the couple's three sons may join him when they are ready.

They do not know whether they will settle permanently in Germany.

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Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Mr Solzhenitsyn is a long-time critic of the Soviet system

In Context
Just over a week later Solzhenitsyn went to Lillehammer in Norway, via Switzerland and Denmark.

He lived in exile in Switzerland until 1976 when he and his family went to live in Vermont in the US.

As well as criticising Soviet denials of human rights, he was also scathing of the capitalist system.

The first Russian language version of Gulag Archipelago finally appeared in 1989.

With the collapse of the Soviet system, the charges against Solzhenitsyn were dropped in 1991, but he didn't return to his homeland until 1994.

His later writing has never achieved the critical acclaim of his earlier work.

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