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Vladimir Kryuchkov
Владимир Крючков
[[file:Vladimir Kryuchkov.jpg|frameless|alt=]]
7th Chairman of the State Committee for State Security

In office
1 October 1988 – 22 August 1991
Premier Valentin Pavlov
Preceded by Viktor Chebrikov
Succeeded by Leonid Shebarshin
Full member of the Politburo

In office
20 September 1989 – 13 July 1990
Personal details
Born (1924-02-29)29 February 1924
Volgograd, Soviet Union
Died 23 November 2007(2007-11-23) (aged 83)
Troyekurovskoye Cemetery, Moscow, Russia
Nationality Soviet and Russian
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Kryuchkov (center) being interviewed by journalists following the fourth convocation of the Congress of People's Deputies

Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov (Russian: Владимир Александрович Крючков) (29 February 1924 – 23 November 2007) was a Soviet politician and statesman. From 1988 to 1991 he served as 7th Chairman of the KGB USSR. Member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, a member and the head of the GKChP.

Early life

Kryuchkov was born in Stalingrad, which is now Volgograd.[1]


Kryuchkov joined the Soviet diplomatic service, stationed in Hungary until 1959. He then worked for the Communist Party Central Committee for eight years, before joining the KGB in 1967 together with his patron Yuri Andropov. He was appointed head of the First Chief Directorate (FCD) in 1974 (the KGB Foreign Operations) and Deputy Chairman in 1978. In 1988, he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army and became KGB Chairman.[2] In 1989–1990, he was a member of the Politburo.

A political hard-liner, Kryuchkov was among the members of the Soviet intelligence community who misinterpreted the 1983 NATO exercise Able Archer as a prelude to a nuclear attack. Many historians, such as Robert Cowley and John Lewis Gaddis, believe the Able Archer incident was the closest the world has come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Hoping to defuse the campaign to rehabilitate Imre Nagy and the Hungarian reform movement in general, Kryuchkov sent a dossier of incriminating KGB documents, both genuine and bogus, to Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday, June 16, 1989 – the same day that several hundred thousand Hungarians gathered in Heroes Square in Budapest to witness the ceremonial reburial of Nagy and several other leaders of the 1956 revolt who had been tried and executed in 1958.[3]

According to Sergei Tretyakov, Kryuchkov secretly sent US$50 billion worth of funds of the Communist Party to an unknown location in the lead up to the collapse of the Soviet Union.[4]

During the August Coup of 1991, Kryuchkov was the initiator of creation of the The State Committee on the State of Emergency (Государственный Комитет по Чрезвычайному Положению, ГКЧП) which arrested the President of USSR Mikhail Gorbachev. After the defeat of the Committee, Kryuchkov was imprisoned for his participation. However, in 1994 the State Duma freed him in an amnesty. Kryuchkov was replaced as chairman of the KGB by Leonid Shebarshin.


Kryuchkov died at the age of 83 on 23 November 2007.[2] His body was buried at the Troyekurovskoye Cemetery in Moscow.


Government offices
Preceded by
Viktor Chebrikov
Head of Soviet Committee of State Security
Succeeded by
Leonid Shebarshin

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