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Yegor Yakovlev; journalist's work helped spur glasnost

MOSCOW -- Yegor Yakovlev, a journalist whose weekly Soviet newspaper became a flagship of openness during the glasnost era of Mikhail Gorbachev, has died. He was 75.

Mr. Yakovlev died Sunday after a long illness, his wife, Irina, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, praised Mr. Yakovlev as a ''courageous" voice who made an ''immense contribution to the renewal of this country."

''Those who knew him remember how much his position and voice meant in difficult times when all the changes started and when people needed faithful, honest, truthful and courageous words," Gorbachev said at a memorial service Wednesday.

Appointed editor-in-chief of the weekly Moscow News in 1986, Mr. Yakovlev turned what was a propaganda sheet into an organ of reform, increasing circulation from 35,000 to 3 million copies a week in eight languages.

During his tenure, which ended in 1991, he oversaw reporting on the crimes of Josef Stalin and articles openly criticizing Communist rule and the socialist economy.

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