A leading Soviet critic said that Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the exiled dissident author of "The Gulag Archipelago," should have his Soviet citizenship returned in a drive to restore the writer's rank among Russian readers as a major literary figure.

"I think Solzhenitsyn is a very great writer and consider it a misfortune for our literature that the young generation was deprived of the opportunity to read his books," Natalya Ivanova, a noted literary critic, said Sunday. "I hope that this erroneous situation will soon be corrected."Since Solzhenitsyn's exile from the Soviet Union in 1974 when he was stripped of Soviet citizenship, the controversial Nobel Prize-winning author has lived mainly in Cavendish, Vt.

Ivanova, who called Solzehnitsyn "a very great writer," also said the now banned works of Solzhenitsyn, an outspoken Russian nationalist once hailed as a "new Tolstoy," should be published in his homeland.

Solzhenitsyn was an army artillery captain when he was arrested in February 1945 for disrespectful remarks about Stalin in some of his letters.