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Russians Remember Legendary Performer

Flowers being laid at a memorial to Vladimir Vysotsky (file photo)
Flowers being laid at a memorial to Vladimir Vysotsky (file photo)
MOSCOW -- Vladimir Vysotsky, an immensely popular Soviet-era actor, singer, and poet, has been commemorated in Russia on the anniversary of his death more than three decades ago, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Thousands of Muscovites visited Vysotsky's grave in Moscow's Vagankovskoye cemetery, while fans and friends gathered in Tagansky Park to honor him 31 years after he died in Moscow 31 at the age of 42.

Although largely ignored by the Soviet cultural establishment, Vysotsky enjoyed cult status for many years and his singing style and lyrics continue to influence modern Russian singers. Vysotsky's lyrics were often tinged with social and political commentary told using humorous street jargon.

A new exhibition called "My Hamlet" opened in Moscow's Vysotsky Museum on the anniversary of his death. The exhibition is devoted to the 40th anniversary of the premier at the Taganka Theater of a production of Shakespeare's "Hamlet" in which Vysotsky played the title role for many years.

Russia's main television channel has broadcast a number of programs devoted to Vysotsky's life, poetry, and work in the cinema and theater.

Vysotsky reportedly died of a heart attack in his sleep, though many contest the circumstances and cause of his death.

His passing during the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games led thousands of people to leave Olympic events to attend his funeral or to stand in the streets to watch his funeral procession.

Read more in Russian here