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Daniil Granin dies; Russian author was 98

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and author Daniil

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and author Daniil Granin, 98, attend an award ceremony at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, on June 3, 2017. Credit: AP / Alexei Druzhinin

MOSCOW — Daniil Granin, a Russian author who wrote a chronicle of the Nazi siege of Leningrad and several widely popular novels, has died. He was 98.

Granin, a World War II veteran whose writings made him a moral authority for many in Russia, died Tuesday at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russian news reports said.

President Vladimir Putin offered condolences to his family, praising Granin as a “great thinker” and a “man of great spiritual strength.”

Granin, who was trained as an industrial engineer, joined the Red Army when the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 and fought through the end of the war.

He published his first work in 1949 and authored several novels inspired by his experience as an engineer, describing scientists fighting for their inventions against stolid bureaucracy. Several of Granin’s books were turned into movies, earning him quick popularity.

In the 1970s, Granin published “A Book of the Blockade,” containing horrifying accounts by survivors of the Nazi siege of Leningrad.

When Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev launched his openness campaign, Granin won acclaim with a 1987 biography of genetic scientist Nikolai Timofeev-Resovsky who faced repression under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s rule.

In 2014, Granin — 95 at the time — made a powerful, widely quoted speech about the siege of Leningrad at the German parliament on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

City authorities said Granin is to be buried Saturday at the Komarovo cemetery outside St. Petersburg.

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