One of the more remarkable books I was forced to read at school was One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Although it was grim reading it made such an impression – the idea that people who had done next to nothing wrong could be sent to work in the gulag – that it sparked an interest in Russian history that has never left me.
Waking up to news of his death it had to make you smile to think that one of the first in line to pay a tribute to the writer was Mikhail Gorbachev. Even if you read none of his work his life story alone would chart the ups and downs of Russian politics and that continues even with his death.
Although some people say he lost his way in the last few years, and politically got it wrong, remember One Day and some of his other work and remember how much a by-word his surname was for literary dissidence and that is what he deserves to be remembered for.