The Soviet writers union has evicted the heirs of "Dr. Zhivago" author Boris Pasternak from the country house where he wrote, family sources told Reuter yesterday in Moscow.

They said relatives of the Nobel laureate, who died in 1960, were served an eviction notice on Oct. 16 and that a day later a team of workmen came to take away the contents of the house.

The move followed a two-year legal battle by the writers union to reclaim the house, turned into a museum by the author's family, for use by a living writer.

Pasternak was fiercely denounced by the Soviet authorities after "Zhivago" was published in the West in 1957 because it criticized aspects of Communist rule. For many years he was in disgrace and his works, mainly poetry, were not published. In recent years, however, state publishing houses have begun to issue some of his collections.

Pasternak's son Yevgeny and other relatives fought to keep the house as a permanent memorial to the writer and had received backing from prominent cultural figures such as poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Pasternak's house, a large wooden dacha where his study had been preserved as he left it, is in the writers' colony of Perdelkino on the edge of Moscow. Sources said the union had pledged to set up a museum in the village to commemorate all the famous authors who had lived and worked in the colony.