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Lyudmila Zykina, Russian singer

Russian leader Vladimir Putin, welcoming famous national singer Lyudmila Zykina at an awards ceremony. Russian leader Vladimir Putin, welcoming famous national singer Lyudmila Zykina at an awards ceremony. (AFP/Getty Images/File 2004)
Bloomberg News / July 2, 2009
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MOSCOW - Russian folk singer Lyudmila Zykina, a favorite performer of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, died in Moscow yesterday. She was 80.

Ms. Zykina, whose surname is derived from zychny, a Russian word that describes a stentorian or sonorous voice, began her singing career in 1947. She sang first with the Pyatnitsky Choir and then as a solo artist from 1960. She had performed for all Soviet and Russian heads of state since Josef Stalin.

Her repertoire included about 2,000 songs, and she sold over 6 million records, according to Vesti-24 state television. She died of a heart attack, Vesti reported.

In her songs, Ms. Zykina conveyed the “depth of the Russian character, its strength, beauty’’ and the generosity of the Russian soul, the Moscow-based news service reported, citing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.