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A lifetime of innovation

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Toni Schönfelder
A lifetime of innovation

The Men Who Tried to Topple Mikhail Gorbachev

Twelve men were prosecuted as a result of the attempt to overthrow Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. All of them were arrested in 1991 and served jail time, on average one to two years before being released on various grounds, often health-related. All of them were amnestied in 1994, except Valentin Varennikov, who rejected the amnesty and was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 1994.


Oleg Baklanov, Head of the Military-Industrial Complex (b. 1932)
1976-88: Worked his way up from deputy minister to first deputy minister to minister of machine-building.
Current occupation unknown.

Vladimir Kryuchkov, Chairman of the KGB (b. 1924)
Mid-1950s-1959: Worked at the Foreign Ministry, including the Soviet Embassy in Hungary. Participated in suppressing the Hungarian uprising in 1956. The embassy was then headed by Yury Andropov, who became KGB chief and briefly was Soviet leader after the death of Leonid Brezhnev. Moved to work in the Communist Party Central Committee as soon as Andropov was transferred there. Served in the Politburo.
Now a pensioner. Works as a consultant with various organizations, among them, reportedly, AFK Sistema, the powerful corporation close to Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

Valentin Pavlov, Prime Minister (b. 1937)
1989: Appointed finance minister. Pavlov introduced some mechanisms of a market economy, including setting up a network of commercial investment banks, co-ops and stock exchanges.
1991: Appointed prime minister in January. Pavlovs name is forever linked to his three-day mandatory exchange of 100-ruble and 50-ruble bills in early 1991. Each individual could only exchange a limited number of bills. The measure was intended to confiscate cash.
After the coup, Pavlov held a number of positions in commercial firms, including a job as a financial consultant for Promstroibank and as vice president for business development of the New Jersey-based software developer Business Management Systems.
Is now director of the Institute of Research and Support for the Development of Regions and Businesses with the International Union of Economists.

Boris Pugo, Interior Minister (1937 - 1991)
1990: Appointed interior minister.
Officially, he committed suicide on Aug. 21 in his apartment with a shot to the head, but some contemporaries have cast doubt on the official version, claiming that his pistol was found neatly placed on a chest of drawers by his bed.

Vasily Starodubtsev, Head of the U.S.S.R. Peasants Union (b. 1931)
1994: After being released from jail, returned to the Tula region to head the same collective farm and agricultural-industrial union hed headed before.
1997: Elected Tulas governor with 62 percent of the vote.
2001: Elected for a second term as governor in April (72 percent).
Is now the Communist Partys No. 3 man. Member of the Federation Councils commission on agricultural policies.

Alexander Tizyakov, President of the Association of State-Owned Enterprises (b. 1926)
July 1991: Signed the "Word to the People," an open letter from a group of conservative writers, generals and politicians that was later considered the main precursor of the coup.
1999: Unsuccessfully ran for the State Duma on the ticket of the Movement in Support of the Army.

Gennady Yanayev, Vice President of the Soviet Union (b. 1937)
1990: Became member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in charge of foreign affairs and member of Politburo. That December, nominated by Gorbachev as vice president of the Soviet Union; confirmed by parliament on second vote. He told the parliament, which was prophetically skeptical about his commitment to Gorbachevs reforms: "I am a convinced Communist to the depths of my soul. You cant make me budge from that."
Now is retired with a monthly pension of 1,500 rubles ($51).

Dmitry Yazov, Defense Minister (b. 1923)
In Cuba during the missile crisis.
1987: Appointed defense minister after his predecessor was sacked for letting German pilot Matthias Rust land his single-engine plane on Red Square unchecked by Soviet military.
After his arrest, Yazov apologized to Gorbachev and his wife.
Retired after being amnestied. Now an adviser at the Defense Ministry.


Anatoly Lukyanov, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. (b. 1930)
Vyacheslav Generalov, KGB Major-General (b. 1946)
Yury Plekhanov, KGB Lieutenant-General, Chief of the Main Guard Department (b. 1930)
Valentin Varennikov, Deputy Defense Minister (b. 1923)

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