Rutskoy, Aleksandr Vladimirovich

Rutskoy, Aleksandr Vladimirovich
(1947– )
   A veteran of the Soviet-Afghan War, Aleksandr Rutskoy’s war record included being shot down and interrogated by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence and being offered the chance to defect by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. He was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for his bravery, and was subsequently chosen by Boris Yeltsin as a running mate for the 1991 Russian presidential election. A strong supporter of ethnic Russians, he backed the independence of Transnistria and Crimea. He also railed against Yegor Gaydar’s economic reforms and Russian weakness in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
   In part due to his unpredictable and populist methods, a rift soon developed between Rutskoy and Yeltsin. Following the Congress of People’s Deputies’ attempted “soft coup” against Yeltsin in March 1993, the relationship worsened, and in September, the president suspended Rutskoy from his duties as vice president over allegations of corruption. Defending Rutskoy, the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation declared the move unconstitutional, thus precipitating the constitutional crisis of 1993. Rutskoy, now a conspirator, assumed the role of acting president of the Russian Federation, and allied himself with Ruslan Khasbulatov.
   In the wake of the crisis, Rutskoy was arrested and imprisoned in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison until 26 February 1994 when he was granted amnesty by the newly formed State Duma. He subsequently founded the Derzhava (Great Power) political party. In 1996, he was elected governor of his home province, Kursk Oblast. He was banned from running for reelection in 2000 on a technicality, reportedly on the orders of Vladimir Putin.
   See also Politics.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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