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Former Soviet politician and coup plotter Anatoly Lukyanov dies aged 88

He was arrested for alleged complicity in the coup plot against reformist Mikhail Gorbachev, his long-time friend.

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 aged 88.

Russia’s Channel One state television said Mr Lukyanov died on Wednesday without specifying the cause.

During the 1980s, Mr Lukyanov, a senior Communist Party official, was a top associate of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

A lawyer by training, he had known Mr Gorbachev since they were university students.

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Anatoly Lukyanov, gestures to investigators in a room at the Matrosskaya Tishina prison in Moscow (AP)

Mr 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 Mr Gorbachev’s political and economic reforms, but eventually grew critical of Mr Gorbachev’s policies and openly spoke against them.

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

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Former chairman of the Supreme Soviet Anatoly Lukyanov (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP)

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

During 1993-2003, Mr 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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