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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Extra Patrols To Protect Solzhenitsyn

Transport police have beefed up security on and around the train bearing Alexander Solzhenitsyn across the Russian countryside from the Far East because of concerns about crime, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday. The former exile's train is being guarded by increased patrols in the Amur and Chita regions near the border with China in particular, a spokesman for the Trans-Baikal Transport Police told the news agency. Trains in the Far East have been plagued by robberies recently, and Russian authorities say Chinese gangs have extensive organized crime operations on the Trans-Baikal line. Solzhenitsyn's train arrived in Blagoveshchensk, a city on the Chinese border about 5,400 kilometers east of Moscow, from Khabarovsk on Tuesday morning. Security was very tight for Solzhenitsyn in the port of Vladivostok, where undesirables were reportedly rounded up by police before the Nobel laureate's arrival. Since he touched down in the former prison camp center of Magadan on May 31, Solzhenitsyn has been making his way to Moscow by train, stopping along the way to familiarize himself with his native country after 20 years of absence. Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union in KGB handcuffs for writing works critical of the Communist regime. Itar-Tass said the writer had planned to make a brief jaunt across the Chinese border, and Russian authorities issued him a visa for the purpose. But the agency said such a visit would require an invitation from China, and it was unclear whether Solzhenitsyn would make the trip. Solzhenitsyn angered the residents of Birobidzhan in the Jewish Autonomous Region when he refused to greet a crowd waiting for him at the railway station, Interfax reported. Solzhenitsyn's son Yermolai told residents his father was too tired after his visit to Khabarovsk and needed a rest, Interfax said.