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Soviet-Era Television Presenter Igor Kirillov Dies

Igor Kirillov
Igor Kirillov

Russian television presenter Igor Kirillov, who was the chief news anchor for state television during the Soviet era, has died aged 89.

For decades, Kirillov was the presenter who informed U.S.S.R. audiences of major news events, including the launch of the Sputnik satellite, communiques issued by the Communist Party, military parades on Moscow's Red Square, and the burials of Soviet leaders at the Kremlin wall.

The news of his death was reported by Channel One and other Russian media outlets as well as the BBC.

The cause of death was not given, but sources quoted by Izvestia and Ren-TV said Kirillov's health began to deteriorate in September. The reports indicated he had suffered a thrombosis -- a blood clot. Interfax reported that he had been hospitalized in October.

Kirillov hosted the daily news program Vremya (Time) for more than 20 years.

Born on September 14, 1932, in Moscow, Kirillov was an actor in the Moscow Drama and Comedy Theater -- now the Taganka Theater -- from 1955 to 1957.

Later he began working at the Shabolovsky television center as an assistant director of the Musical Editorial Office of Central Television. Within months of beginning his career in television, he went on the air and won the announcer competition.

By the late 1980s, the job of television news presenter was no longer the realm of professional announcers but journalists. This was also true in the Soviet Union, and Kirillov was seen less and less on TV.

Kirillov hosted Vremya for the last time on December 30, 1989. The Soviet Union collapsed two years later.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service and the BBC

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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