Hundreds of people gathered at the cemetery of the Donskoi Monastery in Moscow on Wednesday for the burial of the world-famous author and public figure Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Solzhenitsyn passed away in the early hours on 4 August in his 90th year of life from heart failure.
This morning, the Divine Liturgy and burial service was celebrated in the Greater Cathedral of the monastery. The funeral services were served by Archbishop Aleksei of Orekhovo-Zuevsk, the patriarchal vicar. President Dmitri Medvedev interrupted his work schedule this morning to attend the ceremony so that he could pay his last respects to the great Russian writer. He brought a bouquet of red Bordeaux roses to the cathedral to lay at the bier. President Medvedev spent some time talking with Natalia Dmitrievna Solzhenitsyna, the author’s widow. He also expressed his personal condolences to his sons and other members of his family.
Also present at the burial were many eminent political and cultural figures such as Yevgeny Primakov, former Prime Minister and Head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov of Moscow, Mikhail Seslavinsky, the head of Rospechati, Mikhail Shvydkoy, representative of the President for International Cultural Cooperation, Yuri Osipov, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aleksei Varlam, winner of the Solzhenitsyn Award, and poetess Bella Akhmadukina, amongst others.
After the Last Kiss and Final Farewell, the funeral procession proceeded to the cemetery. Solzhenitsyn was buried next to the 19th century historian Vasili Klyuchevsky. His closest family members, his widow, Natalia Dmitrievna, his sons Stepan Aleksandrovich, Yermolai Aleksandrovich, and Ignat Aleksandrovich, and their families, followed the coffin. In spite of the unseasonably cool weather, hundreds gathered in the cemetery. The cathedral and the lawn around the grave were buried in bright flowers. The ceremony was completed with three volleys fired by the honour guard accompanied by a military band.
6 August 2008