Korzhakov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich

Korzhakov, Aleksandr Vasilyevich
(1950– )
   Politician. Born in Moscow to a proletarian family, Aleksandr Korzhakov rose through the ranks of the KGB during the 1970s. After serving in the Soviet-Afghan War, he was assigned to Yury Andropov as a personal bodyguard. In 1985, he assumed the same role for Boris Yeltsin, the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in Moscow. He remained close with Yeltsin after his dismissal from the CPSU, becoming head of the Presidential Security Service when Yeltsin took control of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1991. On the occasion of the 1991 August Coup and the constitutional crisis of 1993, Korzhakov assumed personal responsibility for the leader’s safety. Over time, he emerged as a key advisor to Yeltsin, particularly on security issues such as the Chechen War. As a key member of the antidemocratic “Party of War” within the presidential administration, Korzhakov strongly opposed Yeltsin’s decision to permit the 1996 presidential election to be conducted. In a position with little external oversight, Korzhakov naturally became the subject of criticism for supposed corruption and embezzlement. He was sacked during a turf war within Yeltsin’s cabinet after media reports planted by his rival Anatoly Chubais suggested he was attempting a coup. He later won election to the State Duma representing Tula; the seat had opened in the wake of the untimely death of the incumbent Aleksandr Lebed. Korzhakov recounted his time in government in his biography Boris Yeltsin: From Dawn to Dusk (1997).

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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