Russian writer and activist Edouard Limonov, renowned for his sulphurous novels and the radicalism of his political commitments favorable to the opposition, then to the Kremlin, died Tuesday in Moscow at the age of 77 years.
“Today, March 17, died in Moscow Edward Limonov. All the details will be communicated tomorrow, ”announced the Other Russia party, founded by Edouard Limonov, in a message on its website.
Communist deputy Sergei Chargounov confirmed to the public press agency TASS that the writer died in a Moscow hospital, without specifying the causes.
“Until the end, he kept in touch and talked. You could write to him, he had a clear mind, “he added.
In France, Edouard Limonov had benefited from a significant revival of attention after the publication in 2011 of the biographical novel Limonov by the writer Emmanuel Carrère.
Between fascination with the provocative personality of the Russian writer and criticism of his ultranationalist commitments, the work had been crowned with the Renaudot Prize.
Born in 1943 in Dzerzhink, in the Russian region of Nizhny Novgorod, Edouard Limonov, whose real name is Savenko, was born to a KGB father and grew up near Kharkiv, in Ukraine.
His first remarkable works are autobiographical novels narrating his exile from the USSR, in 1974, to the United States, then to France.
The first of them, The Russian poet prefers the big negroes, translated into 15 languages, recounts his disillusions with contact with American life and his homosexual adventures in the depths of New York.
In the 1980s, Edouard Limonov, a French speaker, had lived in Paris and participated in literary reviews, bonding with several rising figures in literature.
Returned to Russia in the 90s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, this author with eternal round glasses – à la Trotsky – had founded a “national-Bolshevik” opposition party, whose emblem fused a Nazi flag and a hammer and a sickle.
Limonov had also joined proserb nationalist groups during the Bosnian War, where he had been filmed with machine gun fire on the besieged city of Sarajevo.
He had also collaborated for a time with the far-right Russian ideologue Alexandre Douguine.
Arrested in Siberia in 2001, then sentenced in 2003 to four years in prison for illegal possession of weapons, Edouard Limonov had been granted parole after three months.
After the ban of the National Bolshevik Party in 2007, he had created Autre Russie and participated in numerous demonstrations suppressed by the police. The party had counted for a time in its ranks the opponent and chess champion Garry Kasparov.
In 2012, Limonov’s candidacy for the presidential election had been rejected by the Russian authorities.
His criticism of power, however, turned into support for the Kremlin after the Ukrainian revolution of 2014, which he strongly criticized. He also supported the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula by Russia the same year. Then became a columnist for the pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia , Edouard Limonov had appeared in recent years during programs and political debates on Russian state channels.
On Russian Telegram messaging, the ultranationalist deputy Vladimir Zhirinovsky regretted “a great loss for Russian culture, and for all of us”.