Last Chairperson of USSR’s Supreme Soviet, Anatoly Lukyanov, Dies
Anatoly Lukyanov became chairperson of the Supreme Soviet, the USSR’s top legislative body, in 1990.
Anatoly Lukyanov, the last chairperson of the USSR's Supreme Soviet and harsh critic of Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, has died at the age of 88, Russian news agencies reported on Wednesday, 9 January.
He became chairperson of the Supreme Soviet, the USSR's top legislative body, in 1990, succeeding Gorbachev who had been elected the first and only president of the Soviet Union.
He publicly criticised Gorbachev's policies and was jailed after the 1991 putsch by Communist hardliners and security chiefs who attempted to seize power.
The coup leaders in August 1991 placed Gorbachev under de facto house arrest and sent tanks into the centre of Moscow in an attempt to roll back reforms that threatened to end the Communist Party's iron grip.
But crowds flocked to support Boris Yeltsin, then leader of the Russian republic of the USSR, as he faced down the tanks, leading to the failure of the coup and soon afterwards the end of over 70 years of Communist domination.
Although not officially one of the putsch leaders, Lukyanov was arrested and held in jail until December 1992 for backing the coup. Eventually all the coup leaders were amnestied in 1994.
He told Lenta.ru news site in an interview in 2015 that he was jailed for refusing to disavow his belief in the Soviet system.
The putsch was "a desperate but badly organised attempt by a group of the country's leaders to save the USSR," he said.
From 1993 to 2003 Lukyanov served as a Communist Party lawmaker in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.
Lukyanov was born on 7 May 1930, in the western Russian city of Smolensk. He worked at a munitions factory during World War II and only completed his school education after the end of the war, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
He went on to study law and swiftly climbed the ranks of the Soviet ruling institutions.
The leader of the Communist Party of Russia Gennady Zyuganov told TASS state news agency that Lukyanov "lived the life of a true patriot."
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