Born in Irkutsk, Borodin was a Christian and a Soviet dissident. In the 1960s he belonged to the anti-Communist All-Russian Social-Christian Union. He was arrested and imprisoned in the 'strict regime' Camp 17 in 1967, and went on hunger strike there with Yuli Daniel and Aleksandr Ginzburg in 1969. After his release in 1973, Borodin’s works were smuggled out of the Soviet Union. The publication in English translation of The Story of a Strange Time led to his arrest in 1982 on charges of 'anti-Soviet propaganda'. He was sentenced to 10 years' hard labour in Perm-36 Maximum Security Camp (ITK-6), as well as five years' internal exile. Released after four years, in the perestroika era, Borodin was allowed to visit the west with his wife.
A winner of many literary prizes, including the 2002 Solzhenitsyn Prize, Borodin was editor-in-chief of Moskva, a popular literary magazine. In 2005 he was appointed to the first convocation of the Public Chamber of Russia.
Works in English translation
- Partings, The Harvill Press, 1988.
- The Year of Miracle and Grief, Quartet Books, 1988.
- The Third Truth, Harpercollins, 1992.
- The Story of a Strange Time, Harpercollins, 1993.
- @openspace_ru. "Умер Леонид Бородин — Литература —". Openspace.ru. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- Reference guide to Russian literature, Neil Cornwell, Nicole Christian, Taylor & Francis, 1998, p. 185
- "Gulag: Soviet Forced Labor Camps and the Struggle for Freedom". Gulaghistory.org. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- Leonid Borodin: Looking through the Years. Dir. Viacheslav Novikov. Sacramento, Calif.: Artistic License, 2001.
- Nepomnyashchy, Catharine Theimer (2002). "Review: [untitled]". Slavic Review 61 (4): 815–816. ISSN 0037-6779. JSTOR 3090391.
- "In Time of Troubles One Should Stake on the Idea. Interview with the writer Leonid Borodin". Pravoslavie.ru. 2002-04-24. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
- 2002 interview after receiving the Solzhenitsyn Prize
- Moskva Journal
- New York Times review of Partings
- New York Times review of The Year of Miracle and Grief