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 Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov

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Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov

  • Birth 29 Feb 1924
  • Death 23 Nov 2007
  • Burial Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia
  • Memorial ID 23087126

Soviet Diplomat, Security Official, Conspirator. He was Chairman of the Soviet Union's security and secret police apparatus, the KGB, from 1988 to 1991. Kryuchkov was one of the "Gang of Eight", a group of hardline communists who attempted a coup against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991. The unsuccessful plot triggered the demise of the USSR. Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov was born in Tsaritsyn (now Volgograd), Russia. He joined the Komsomol (Communist Youth Organization) at age 19, studied law, and then trained at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Higher Diplomatic School. From 1954 to 1959 he was Third Secretary of the Soviet Embassy in Hungary under Ambassador Yuri Andropov, his political mentor. Kryuchkov was involved in the Soviet crushing of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and later did intelligence work in Hungary and Romania, reporting directly to the Party Central Committee. When Andropov became head of the KGB in 1967 he brought Kryuchkov along as his assistant, naming him Chief of Foreign Operations in 1974 and Deputy Chairman in 1978. In these capacities he helped organize the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. He was promoted to KGB Chairman by Gorbachev, with the military rank of General. Kryuchkov was a vocal opponent of Gorbachev's reforms, which ended Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe, caused a groundswell of nationalism in the Soviet Republics and divided the Communist Party. In a 1991 televised statement he warned that "the threat of the collapse of the Soviet Union has emerged". He became a leading member of a cabal of high-ranking officials styling themselves the "State Committee of the State of Emergency", and plotted to help them usurp government control. On August 19, 1991, they launched the coup in Moscow while Gorbachev was away on vacation, declaring at a press conference that he could no longer lead due to "health reasons". But they failed to arrest several key reformist leaders - most crucially, RSFSR President Boris Yeltsin, who rallied opposition to the takeover and urged a general strike throughout Russia. Planned military support for the putschists was withdrawn in the face of massive civil resistance and by August 21 the coup had fallen apart. Most agree that the "Gang of Eight" hastened the downfall of the regime they had hoped to save. Although Gorbachev returned to office, the failed coup enabled Yeltsin to seize autonomous power within Russia and destabilized the already shaky Soviet power structure beyond repair. Gorbachev resigned as USSR President on December 25, 1991, and one day later the Soviet Union officially ceased to exist. All but one of the conspirators were charged with treason (Interior Minister Boris Pugo committed suicide to avoid arrest). At their trial in April 1993 Kryuchkov said they aborted the coup because "we did not want to spill blood to achieve our objectives". The proceedings were indefinitely suspended after a week and the defendants were granted amnesty in 1994. In his last years Kryuchkov regained some respectability in the Russian Federation. He is said to have privately advised President Vladimir Putin (himself a former KGB man) on state security issues, published his memoirs, and was invited to Kremlin functions.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
  • Added: 25 Nov 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 23087126
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov (29 Feb 1924–23 Nov 2007), Find A Grave Memorial no. 23087126, citing Troekurov Cemetery, Moscow, Moscow Federal City, Russia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .