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The body of Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The body of Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn was laid to rest at Moscow's Donskoi monastery on Wednesday in a ceremony attended by hundreds of people.

Solzhenitsyn, a Nobel laureate and former dissident, was buried at the monastery which is the resting place of many writers, poets and historians after a night-long vigil and a morning funeral service at the monastery's cathedral.

President Dmitry Medvedev, who attended the service, offered condolences to Solzhenitsyn's widow, Natalia, his three sons and their families.

Other top officials, cultural figures, scientists and hundreds of ordinary people came to say their farewells to the writer, who died of heart failure late Sunday at the age of 89.

In signs reminiscent of a state funeral, a military band played and three salvoes were fired at the end of the burial ceremony. The grave was covered with flowers and wreaths from well wishers.

Thousands paid their last tribute to the writer on Tuesday as his body lay in state in the Russian Academy of Sciences. A military guard of honor stood by his open casket before a Russian flag and a large portrait of him.

Best known as the author of The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, dreadful accounts of Stalinist prison life, Solzhenitsyn fought in WWII, spent eight years in labor camps, survived cancer while still in prison, and lived abroad in forced exile for 20 years.

Solzhenitsyn returned to Russia in 1994 several years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He died at his home near Moscow.

The governor's office in Solzhenitsyn's home town of Kislovodsk in southern Russia, said Wednesday local authorities would open a museum dedicated to the writer and historian.

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