Rutskoi, Aleksandr Vladimirovich

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Aleksandr Vladimirovich Rutskoi (ŭl´yĬksän´dər vlŭd´yĬmĬr´əvyĬch´ rōōtskoi´), 1947–, Russian politician, b. Ukraine. A Russian nationalist and former air force officer who fought in Afghanistan, he was Boris Yeltsin's vice presidential running mate in 1991. As vice president, Rutskoi supported Yeltsin during the coup attempt against Gorbachev, but later he opposed Yeltsin's reforms and became his rival. After Yeltsin suspended the parliament in 1993, its deputies named Rutskoi acting president. Rutskoi joined with opposition conservatives and called for an armed uprising to oust Yeltsin, but the attempt was crushed by the army and he was jailed in 1993. Released in 1994 when a new parliament granted him amnesty, Rutskoi renewed his denunciations of Yeltsin and advocated Russian expansion to the boundaries of the former Soviet Union and a reunification of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In 1995 the Derzhava (Strong State) party, a loose coalition of ex-Communists and other hard-liners, nominated Rustkoi as its presidential candidate in the 1996 election, but he withdrew in favor of Gennady Zyuganov.