Rutskoi, Alexander Vladimirovich

views updated


(b. 1947), vice president of the Russian Federation, governor of Kursk Oblast, general-major of aviation, Hero of the Soviet Union.

Alexander Rutskoi was born on September 16, 1947 in Kmelnitsky, Ukraine, to a professional military family. He graduated from a pilot training school in 1966 and joined the Soviet Air Forces. In the 1980s he served in Afghanistan as deputy commander, commander of the air regiment, and deputy commander of aviation for the Fortieth Army. He was shot down twice; the second time, his Su-25 crashed in Pakistan, where he was interned and then repatriated. In late 1988 he received the award Hero of the Soviet Union. In 1988 and 1989 he attended the Voroshilov Military Academy of the General Staff. In 1990 he was elected to the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (Russian Federation) and to the Central Committee of the newly organized Communist Party of the RSFSR. He displayed a strong Russian nationalist bias and in 1991 helped to found Communists for Democracy and supported Boris Yeltsin.

Yeltsin named Rutskoi as his vice presidential running mate in his successful campaign for the presidency of Russia. During the August Coup (against Gorbachev), Rutskoi organized the defense of the Russian White House. Yeltsin promoted him to the rank of general-major and entrusted him with a number of delicate issues, such as border issue negotiations with Ukraine and Kazakhstan and Chechen independence. When Yeltsin embarked upon radical economic reforms, Rutskoi publicly expressed his doubts concerning the direction of

Yeltsin's policy. Yeltsin moved to effectively isolate his vice president. As a consequence of these developments, Rutskoi drifted toward the parliamentary opposition led by parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov. This struggle between president and parliament came to a violent head in September and October 1993. Yeltsin crushed the revolt with armed forces and arrested its leadership. Rutskoi was arrested and removed from the office of vice president, and the position of vice president was abolished.

In 1994 the Russian parliament granted amnesty to Rutskoi and other rebels of 1993. Rutskoi went on to organize a Russian nationalist party, Power (Derzhava ) which competed in the 1995 parliamentary elections and joined the Red-Brown opposition to Yeltsin in the summer 1996 presidential elections. A leading figure of the anti-Yeltsin nationalist opposition, Rutskoi ran for and won the post of governor of Kursk Oblast in October 1996 and served in that office to 2000. He stood for reelection but was disqualified by the Central Elections Commission, which ordered his name stricken from the ballot for election campaign law violations and abuses as governor. Rumors interpreted the government's actions as a direct response to Rutskoi's criticism of the president during the Kursk disaster.

See also: afghanistan, relations with; august 1991 putsch; kursk submarine disaster; october 1993 events; yeltsin, boris nikolayevich


Aron, Leon. (2000). Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life. New York: Thomas Dunne Books.

Chugaev, Sergei. "Khasbulatov & Co." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (January/February 1993).

Jacob W. Kipp