MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian writer Alexander Chakovsky, a stalwart of the Soviet literary establishment, died Thursday in Moscow at the age of 80, the ITAR-Tass news agency said.

Chakovsky was chief editor of the influential weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta from 1962 until 1988. For many years he was an official in the Soviet Writers Union, an enforcer of party doctrine that persecuted many original talents.

Chakovsky graduated from the Gorky Literary Institute at the height of Josef Stalin's terror and went on to become a war correspondent.

His literary reputation rested on a trilogy of World War II novels about the siege of Leningrad.

The Soviet regime rewarded him with the Stalin Prize in 1950 and the Order of the Red Banner of Labor in 1963. He was allowed to travel abroad, and his works were regularly published.

The tables turned with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of openness, or glasnost, which led to Chakovsky's replacement as editor of Literaturnaya Gazeta.