Anatoly Lukyanov, ex-Soviet parliament speaker, dies at 88

January 9, 2019
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FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 28, 1990 file photo, Former Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel, right, is met at airport by Russian Vice President Anatoly Lukyanov on arrival in Moscow. Anatoly Lukyanov, the speaker of the Soviet parliament who joined a hard-line coup that precipitated the Soviet collapse, has died at 88. Russia's Channel One state television said Lukyanov died Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — Anatoly Lukyanov, a Communist politician who as parliament speaker was imprisoned for his role in a coup attempt that precipitated the Soviet Union’s collapse, has died. He was 88.

Russia’s Channel One state television said Lukyanov died Wednesday. It didn’t specify the cause.

During the 1980s, Lukyanov, a senior Communist Party official, was a top associate of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. A lawyer by training, he had known Gorbachev since they were university students.

Lukyanov moved into the speaker’s seat in parliament, presiding over the intense political infighting that marked the waning years of the Soviet Union.

He also played a key role in revamping the country’s laws amid Gorbachev’s political and economic reforms, but eventually grew critical of Gorbachev’s policies and openly spoke against them.

Lukyanov hadn’t formally joined a group of hard-line Communist officials that staged a botched coup to topple Gorbachev in August 1991, but still was charged with complicity.

He was arrested along with others and spent more than a year in prison until he was released.

During 1993-2003, Lukyanov served in the Russian parliament after winning elections on the Communist Party ticket.

His burial is set for Friday at Moscow’s Troyekurov cemetery.

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