Russian author Grigory Baklanov dies at 86

AP News
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Posted: Dec 23, 2009 12:57 PM

Russian author and editor Grigory Baklanov has died at the age of 86.

The Moscow Writers Union says Baklanov died in Moscow on Wednesday, but didn't specify the cause of his death.

Baklanov wrote fiction books which tapped into his World War II experience. Baklanov was recruited into the Red Army months after the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union.

He went to the frontline as an 18-year old private and witnessed the bitter Soviet defeats early in the war, then rose through the ranks to become an artillery officer. Baklanov was badly wounded in combat and received several medals for valor.

Baklanov's works such as "An Inch of Land," "Forever Nineteen," "July 1941" and "The Dead Shouldn't Be Shamed" have been widely published in the former Soviet Union and abroad. Baklanov won the prestigious State Prize of the Soviet Union.

During Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, Baklanov played a prominent role as the editor of Znamya, a leading literary monthly. Along with other publications, Znamya spearheaded Gorbachev's glasnost drive, publishing works previously banned by Communist censors and exposing the crimes of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and his henchmen.