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Solzhenitsyn Lecture
Dominic Esler

The latest lecture in the English Language Evenings series, run by American expat Stephen Lapeyrouse, proved a moving and memorable occasion. Yermolai Solzhenitsyn, managing partner of international consulting firm McKinsey and Company, gave an insightful glimpse into the life and thoughts of his father, the late writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn. An engaging and competent speaker, Yermolai began by sketching the historical details of Solzhenitsyn’s life, from his birth in 1918 to his 1994 return to Russia after the publication of The Red Circle. Solzhenitsyn spent eight years in the Gulag (1945 to 1953) for subversive correspondence, and it was here that he developed his deeply individual view of the world and man’s position within it. Having received a brief burst of government approval with the release of A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in 1962 during the Thaw, Solzhenitsyn quickly fell out of favour and was exiled to Germany in 1970 after the manuscript of The Gulag Archipelago was discovered by the authorities. The author finally settled for 18 years in Vermont, USA, where Yermolai spent his childhood. Solzhenitsyn was a man of unyielding personal discipline and moral strength, for whom vacations and weekends were anathema, although he always suggested – rather than dictated – the right path to his children. According to Yermolai, his father constantly strove to achieve a balanced judgement and, despite his grouchy reputation, had an ultimately optimistic faith in the ability of the human spirit to overcome hardship. This was a unique chance to get close to a worldrenowned figure of such stature, and Stephen Lapeyrouse should be congratulated for organising such a successful event. For more information on future ELE lectures visit: “” For more information on Solzhenitsyn, the author’s surviving wife has recently set up a website devoted to all areas of the author’s life and works:

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