Ruslan Khasbulatov, the number two man of Russia and the Soviet Union for several years, has died at the age of 80. He became speaker of parliament shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union and was initially an ally of Boris Yeltsin.
Khasbulatov became speaker of parliament in 1991 and in August of that year he and Yeltsin opposed coup plotters who wanted to prevent the disappearance of the Soviet Union.
In December of that year, the curtain fell on the Soviet Union that had been disintegrating for years. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union on December 26. Thereafter, relations between Khasbulatov and Yeltsin, the first president of the Russian Federation, deteriorated, in part over economic and constitutional differences of opinion.
In September 1993, more than a year and a half after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Khasbulatov, as Speaker of Parliament, questioned Yeltsin’s leadership with Vice President Alexander Rutskoi. They were supported by thousands of people who took to the streets, but Yeltsin retaliated by dissolving parliament.
It provoked a violent crisis in early October, as supporters of parliament attempted to storm the state television building in Moscow.
Firefights broke out and Yeltsin ordered the tanks to fire on the White House, where the Russian Parliament is located. Hundreds of parliamentarians who barricaded themselves there were arrested. Khasbulatov was also arrested, as were many of the protesters.
It won’t stay stuck for long. In February 1994, Khasbulatov was released under an amnesty. After that, he completely disappeared from the political scene. It will also stop interfering in political discussions.
Khasbulatov, who is of Chechen origin, was reportedly buried in his village north of the Chechen capital, Grozny.
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