Kryuchkov, Vladimir Aleksandrovich

(1924–2007)
   Politician. Born in Volgograd, Vladimir Kryuchkov’s early career was in the diplomatic service. He later joined the KGB and enjoyed support from his powerful patron Yury Andropov. Under Mikhail Gorbachev, he rose to the rank of general and assumed control of the KGB; in 1989, he became a member of the Politburo. Fearing that further reforms would lead the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) into political and economic calamity, he soon emerged as a voice against liberalization of the Soviet system. He was particularly critical of acceptance of Western aid, suggesting it was a mechanism to destabilize the country. In June 1991, Kryuchkov and other hardliners had failed in their attempt to sap Gorbachev’s powers and transfer them to then–Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov. In August 1991, Kryuchkov and other conspirators formed the State Committee for the State of Emergency, precipitating the August Coup against Gorbachev. In the wake of the failed putsch, Kryuchkov was arrested and charged with high treason. His actions indirectly led to Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic President Boris Yeltsin’s decision to disband the KGB and outlaw the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1994, Kryuchkov was granted amnesty, along with the other surviving conspirators. He kept a low profile until the Putin administration, when he became a frequent guest at Kremlin events. In his memoirs, he criticized Russia’s leaders for subjugating the country to the West and admonished the political elite for their internal feuding. He died in Moscow on 25 November 2007.
   See also Dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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