The Boston Herald

Solzhenitsyn Ready to End Exile, Depart Vt. For Return to Russia

May, 25, 1994
By Joe Heaney

Eighteen years of exile in Vermont ended today for Alexander Solzhenitsyn when the Nobel Prize winner departs for his beloved Russia, but without safety guarantees, his son said yesterday.

“Of course he could be in danger, my father has no assurance of safety,” said Ignat Solzhenitsyn, 21, a concert pianist who came up Cavendish, Vt., with his parents when he was only 18 months old.

“One cannot control what could or could not happen once he fulfills his dream and returns to Moscow to live.”

The reclusive Alexander Solzhenitsyn settled in a remote home here two years after he was banished from what was then the Soviet Union in 1974.

He was stripped of his citizenship and declared a traitor for anti-Soviet works such as “The Gulag Archipelago” which recounted his years as a political prisoner.

“My father lived every day dreaming of returning to Russia,” said Ignat, one of Solzhenitsyn’s three sons. “That was his place, his people and country. He will live on Moscow and continue his writing career.”

“My father might return to Vermont for a visit, but not to live,” he added. “This has been a wonderful home away from home for us. But I, too, feel more Russian than American and might also return to Russia to live. Time will tell”

Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave his formal farewell to friends here to Town Meeting in March and is not expected to add to those goodbyes today.

“You were very understanding. You forgave me my unusual way of life and even took it upon yourselves to protect my privacy,” he said in March.

“For this I have been truly grateful throughout all these years.”

Solzhenitsyn’s sons will retain the family home here on a secluded hillside north of town after their parents return to Russia.
Solzhenitsyn made few public appearances here.

Three years ago he attended a town parade marking the 200th anniversary of Vermont statehood and was swamped by reporters.