Russia's one of the most loved folk singers, Ludmila Zykina, died on Wednesday of heart failure at the age of 80 in Moscow. Zykina, world famous for performing Russian folk songs, including Mother Volga had won accolades of Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi during her visits to India.
She was the most widely travelled Soviet artiste, who visited over 100 countries at the peak of her popularity. Born in Moscow in 1929, Zykina worked during World War II as a turner in a Moscow machine tool factory, and her singing career took off after she won a pan-Russian singing competition in 1947.
World's great personalities like former French President Charles de Gaulle, actor Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra and the Beatles were among her fans. People's Artist of the USSR, Zykina was a favourite of General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and the entire ruling Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party.
Thanks to this she could sing several songs with the Beatles during her visit to the UK at a time when the Liverpool quartet was a taboo in the Soviet Union. On her 80th birthday on June 10 this year, President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had personally felicitated her.