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Last Member Of Group That Organized 1991 Coup Attempt In Moscow Dies

Oleg Baklanov
Oleg Baklanov

MOSCOW -- The last living member of the so-called Gang of Eight that tried to take over the collapsing Soviet Union in 1991 has died at the age of 89.

The head of Russia's Roskosmos space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, tweeted on July 29 that Oleg Baklanov, the Soviet Union's minister of the common machine-building industry, who also used to lead the Soviet space industry, had passed away.

The cause and time of death were not mentioned.

Baklanov was a member of the group of eight Soviet officials that placed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest in August 1991. The group declared itself a provisional government, or the State Committee for the Emergency Situation known by its Russian acronym, GKChP. The group also included three other senior Soviet political and military officials.

Baklanov was deputy chairman of the presidential Defense Council at the time.

One Gang of Eight member, Soviet Interior Minister Boris Pugo, committed suicide shortly after the coup failed.

In total, 10 people implicated in the coup were granted amnesty by parliament’s lower chamber, the State Duma, on February 23, 1994 -- ending their 14-month trial on high treason charges by the military branch of the Supreme Court.

They went on to play various roles in politics and the private sector in postcommunist Russia.

The leader of the Gang of Eight, Gennady Yanayev, who at the time declared himself acting president of the Soviet Union, died in Moscow in September 2010 at the age of 72.

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