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Obituaries

Eduard Limonov, Russian author, dissident and longtime Kremlin irritant, dies at 77

Russian writer and opposition leader Eduard Limonov
Russian writer and opposition leader Eduard Limonov speaks during an opposition rally in central Moscow in 2014.
(Dmitry Serebryakov / AFP/Getty Images)

Eduard Limonov, a Russian author and political activist known for his poignant and controversial writings, died Tuesday in a Moscow hospital. He was 77.

Limonov’s death was announced by the Other Russia political group, of which he was a member. No other details were released.

Limonov emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1974 and moved to New York and later Paris. He became famous after the publication of his first and best-known autobiographical novel, “It’s Me, Eddie,” colorfully describing his depression and his escapades living in New York.

The book was shunned by publishers for several years because of its graphic language and crude sexual scenes until it was finally printed in Paris.

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Limonov’s political views evolved from anti-Soviet to gradual leftist, and after his return to Russia in 1991 he founded the National Bolshevik Party, a virulently nationalistic leftist group opposing the Kremlin.

In the early 1990s, Limonov traveled to the Balkans where he supported the Serbs during the war in Bosnia. He also visited areas of separatist conflicts in the former Soviet nations, backing the separatists.

In 2001, he was accused of plotting a separatist coup in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan intended to carve out an independent state for ethnic Russians living in the Central Asian nation. He was given a four-year sentence and served more than two years in jail before being paroled.

Limonov didn’t end his political activism after his release, and his Neo-Bolshevik Party remained a thorn in the Kremlin’s side and a Moscow court eventually banned it as “extremist.” Dozens of its members received jail sentences.

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Limonov joined the Other Russia coalition of opposition groups that helped organize protests against President Vladimir Putin. He took part in numerous rallies and was repeatedly arrested.

But when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Limonov supported the move and toned down his criticism of the Russian leader.

Amid his political activities, Limonov has published numerous novels, political pamphlets and other writings.


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