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Anatoly Lukyanov, Imprisoned After Failed 1991 Soviet Coup, Dies At 88

Anatoly Lukyanov, a former Soviet official, has died at age 88 (shown in 1999).
Anatoly Lukyanov, a former Soviet official, has died at age 88 (shown in 1999).

Anatoly Lukyanov, a former Communist Party official who was imprisoned after the failed 1991 coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, has died at age 88.

Russian state television said Lukyanov, the last chairman of the Supreme Soviet, died on January 9, but it did not specify the cause of death.

Lukyanov was a senior Communist Party official in the 1980s and a top adviser to Gorbachev, whom he had known since both were university students.

He became chairman of the Supreme Soviet in 1990, succeeding Gorbachev, who had been elected president of the Soviet Union.

Lukyanov played a key role in implementing Gorbachev's political and economic reforms, but he eventually became a vocal critic of the policies that threatened to end the Communist Party's grip on power.

In August 1991, hard-line communist officials staged a coup against Gorbachev. They placed the Soviet leader under house arrest and sent tanks into central Moscow in an attempt to roll back the reforms.

But thousands of people came out in support of Boris Yeltsin, then leader of the Russian Republic of the U.S.S.R., as he faced down the tanks. That led to the failure of the coup and, eventually, the end of more than 70 years of communist domination.

Lukyanov was not charged with organizing the hard-line coup, but he was charged with supporting the action and was arrested along with others and spent more than a year in prison before being released.

In 1993, Lukyanov co-founded the Communist Party of the Russian Federation with Gennady Zyuganov

Eventually, all of the coup leaders were granted amnesty in 1994.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and TASS

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