One of Russia’s most outstanding singers, Ludmila Zykina, has died in Moscow aged 80. She had suffered a heart attack. Her singing career started in 1940 and her repertoire extended to more than 2,000 Russian folk songs.Russian singer and member of the Duma in Moscow Josif Kobzon said: “There will be other singers, but there won’t be this unique voice. I think she appealed to all of us to love Russia the way she loved it.” Born in Moscow in 1929 Ludmila Zykina worked during the Second World War in a tool factory. But her singing career didn’t get off the ground until 1947 when she won a national song contest. Her powerful voice and singing style enchanted Soviet leaders from Joseph Stalin to Mikhael Gorbachev with her interpretation of popular traditional songs. Zykina travelled abroad to perform in more than 90 countries around the world. In the US she was known as “Miss Volga” while the French paid her a special compliment labelling her “The Russian Edith Piaf”.