Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a man who lived and wrote on his own terms, who told great truths that no one else dared to tell, who constructed the future by excavating the past: harsh, dogmatical and intransigent; fair, visionary and right.
Why has President Dmitry Medvedev not declared a period of national mourning in Russia or decreed a state funeral for Solzhenitsyn? Indeed, why has this not been done by all the states of the former Soviet Union and former Eastern bloc? The end of Communism began when the truth about its crimes was finally told. To Solzhenitsyn belongs the credit for exposing that truth so completely and forcibly that it could no longer be denied. Without Solzhenitsyn Russia would still be ignorant of its real history and a hostage to the lies that kept its people enslaved and the world itself at its mercy for more than 70 years. The debt of the free world to Solzhenitsyn is also beyond reckoning. Here, too, he should be mourned for what he was -- one of mankind's greatest benefactors and a universal conscience of the world.