Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in Kislovodsk, RSFSR (now in Stavropol Krai, Russia). His mother, Taisiya Solzhenitsyna (née Shcherbak) was Ukrainian. Her father had apparently risen from humble beginnings, as something of a self-made man. Eventually, he acquired a large estate in the Kuban region in the northern foothills of the Caucasus. On 7 April 1940, while at the university, Solzhenitsyn married a chemistry student Natalia Alekseevna Reshetovskaya. They divorced in 1952 (a year before his release from the Gulag); he remarried her in 1957 and they divorced again in 1972. The following year (1973) he married his second wife, Natalia Dmitrievna Svetlova, a mathematician who had a son from a brief prior marriage.He and Svetlova (b. 1939) had three sons: Yermolai (1970), Ignat (1972), and Stepan (1973). In February 1945, while serving in East Prussia, Solzhenitsyn was arrested for writing derogatory comments in letters to a friend, Nikolai Vitkevich. Solzhenitsyn was taken to the Lubyanka prison in Moscow, where he was beaten and interrogated. On 7 July 1945, he was sentenced in his absence by Special Council of the NKVD to an eight-year term in a labor camp. This was the normal sentence for most crimes under Article 58 at the time.Solzhenitsyn died of heart failure near Moscow on 3 August 2008, at the age of 89. He was buried on the same date at the place chosen by him in Donskoy necropolis.