Russia Ignores Tolstoy Centennial

Literary giant saddled with controversy 100 years on
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 8, 2011 12:14 PM CST
Leo Tolstoy reading a book, circa 1910.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – On the 100th anniversary of his death, one of the world’s most celebrated authors hardly got a nod from his home country. Leo Tolstoy died Nov. 20, 1910, having been excommunicated a decade earlier by the Russian Orthodox Church. For decades, the Soviets saluted him (ignoring his Pacifism and belief in God). But today, Tolstoy remains largely snubbed, reports the New York Times.

Tolstoy’s burying place is an unmarked mound, notes former PM Sergei Stepashin, who wrote to the Orthodox Church seeking a reprieve for the writer. The church refused, saying Tolstoy helped the rise of the Bolsheviks and “purposely used his great talent to destroy Russia’s traditional spiritual and social order.” “It is as if he is lumped now with communism,” says a Tolstoy expert. “Good idea in principle, but a disaster in practice.”

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