Russian writer Vasily Belov dies at 80

MOSCOW (AP) — Vasily Belov, a writer who paid homage to old rural Russia in his books, has died. He was 80.

Belov's death late Tuesday was announced by the government of Vologda, the region where he lived in northwestern Russia. The statement did not name the cause.

Belov, born into a peasant family, published his first book of poetry in 1961. He was one of the most visible representatives of the so-called "village prose" literary movement, which praised the old Russian customs and opposed urbanization.

Belov received top Soviet awards and his books sold millions of copies.

Among Belov's most famous works were the novel "Business as Usual," the "Carpenter Tales" short stories and "Lad" ("Harmony"), a collection of essays.

Belov will be buried Friday in his home village, Timonikha.

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