Russian author, political activist Limonov dies at 77

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Eduard Limonov

FILE – In this Tuesday, July 31, 2012 file photo, Eduard Limonov, long time radical activist, former leader of banned National Bolshevik Party speaks to The Associated Press in Moscow, Russia. Eduard Limonov, a Russian author known for his poignant and controversial writings and his sharp criticism of the Kremlin, has died at the age of 77. Limonov’s death on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 was announced by the Other Russia political group. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

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MOSCOW (AP) — Eduard Limonov, a Russian author and political activist known for his poignant and controversial writings, died on Tuesday. He was 77.

Limonov’s death was announced by the Other Russia political group he was part of, which said he died at a Moscow hospital but didn’t give any further details.

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 autobiographic novel, “It’s Me, Eddie,” colorfully describing his depression and escapades in New York.

Publishers shunned the book for containing graphic language and crude sexual scenes for several years until it was finally printed in Paris.

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 side and a Moscow court eventually banned it as “extremist.” Dozens of its members received jail sentences.

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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