August 5, 2008

Russian TV Reports on “Silent Farewell” to Solzhenitsyn

Excerpt from "24" news report by corporate-owned Russian Ren TV on 5 August

[Presenter] A silent farewell to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn started in Moscow an hour-and-a-half ago [the body of the late writer is on display for the public to pay their last respects]. There will be no speeches in the building of the Russian Academy of Sciences today. According to the writer's wish, those who want to say something can do so only in Donskoy Monastery [at Solzhenitsyn's funeral on 6 August]. [Passage omitted]

Our correspondent Aleksandr Kolpakov is reporting from the building of the Russian Academy of Science on Leninskiy Prospekt [street].

[Correspondent] The calibre of Solzhenitsyn's personality was so great that I will dare to assume that right now nothing more important is happening either in Russia, or maybe even in the world, than here, in the ceremonial hall of the Russian Academy of Sciences, where people are bidding farewell to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. [Passage omitted]

Vitaliy Tretyakov described this and Solzhenitsyn's role in Russian history, modern history, quite accurately.

[Vitaliy Tretyakov, editor-in-chief of the magazine Political Class [Russian: Politicheskiy Klass]] One of the greatest political figures of 20th century in Russia and the world. In contrast to other great politicians - those who took part in the political struggle and made a decisive impact on its outcome - he was a lone figure, he acted alone. There was no party, no mass spontaneous popular movement behind him, especially no state structures or, as they put it now, administrative resources. Nevertheless he got his own way.

[Correspondent] A lot is being said now about Solzhenitsyn's role as a thinker, writer and political figure, but he was also just a great human figure. One detail: a man diagnosed with cancer when he was a little over 40 - and it happened when he was in a labour camp - lived to almost 90.

The funeral service and burial of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn will be take place in Donskoy Monastery tomorrow [6 August].

Originally published by Ren TV, Moscow, in Russian 0830 5 Aug 08.

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