MOSCOW, JAN. 1 -- Soviet poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko has suggested that the 1958 Nobel Prize for literature awarded to "Dr. Zhivago" author Boris Pasternak but rejected by him under intense pressure by Moscow be posthumously restored.
"There should not be any ambiguity about the question of Pasternak's Nobel Prize. He earned it with his entire life and work," the official news agency Tass said Yevtushenko wrote in an article for an upcoming issue of the weekly New Times.
Tass said Yevtushenko urged in the article that Pasternak's status as a winner of the prize be clarified and argued that it had been awarded for both his poetry and prose and not just for "Doctor Zhivago."
The novel was denounced by Moscow when it first appeared in the West and is only now being published for the first time in the Soviet Union. The first installment appeared in the January edition of the popular monthly Novy Mir.
Yevtushenko said Pasternak lent him one of the first copies of the book in the 1950s and that he reread it in 1966. "I never had a thought that this novel was hostile," Yevtushenko wrote, according to Tass.
Best known in his homeland as a poet, Pasternak, who died in official disgrace in 1960, is being more fully recognized under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's cultural thaw.
"Doctor Zhivago" is set in the early years of Bolshevik power during the Russian civil war. It was condemned by the Soviet leadership as hostile and anti-Bolshevik when it first appeared abroad in 1957.
Yevtushenko, 54, was known as the Soviet Union's "angry young poet" in the 1950s but recently has trod a less controversial path. He remains one of the country's most popular contemporary poets.
The excerpts of his article carried by Tass did not specify how the prize would be restored to Pasternak.