Vladimir Kryuchkov

Vladimir Kryuchkov

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Vladimir Alexandrovich Kryuchkov (Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

: Владимир Александрович Крючков
) (29 February 1924 – 23 November 2007) was a former Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 politician and Communist Party
Communist Party of the Soviet Union
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the only legal, ruling political party in the Soviet Union and one of the largest communist organizations in the world...

 member, having been in the organization from 1944 until he was dismissed in 1991. He was born in Tsaritsyn, which is now Volgograd
Volgograd
Volgograd , formerly called Tsaritsyn and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River...

.

Career


Kryuchkov joined the Soviet diplomatic service, stationed in Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 until 1959. He then worked for the Communist Party Central Committee for eight years, before joining the KGB
KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 in 1967 together with his patron Yuri Andropov
Yuri Andropov
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov was a Soviet politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 12 November 1982 until his death fifteen months later.-Early life:...

. 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. 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
Robert Cowley
Robert Cowley is an American military historian, who writes on topics in American and European military history ranging from the Civil War through World War II...

 and John Lewis Gaddis
John Lewis Gaddis
John Lewis Gaddis is a noted historian of the Cold War and grand strategy, who has been hailed as the "Dean of Cold War Historians" by The New York Times. He is the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University. He is also the official biographer of the seminal 20th...

, believe the Able Archer incident was the closest the world has come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 of 1962.

Hoping to defuse the campaign to rehabilitate Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy
Imre Nagy was a Hungarian communist politician who was appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the People's Republic of Hungary on two occasions...

 and the Hungarian
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

 reform movement in general, Kryuchkov sent a dossier of incriminating KGB documents, both genuine and bogus, to Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 on Friday, June 16, 1989 - the same day that several hundred thousand Hungarians gathered in Heroes Square in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

 to witness the ceremonial reburial of Nagy and several other leaders of the 1956 revolt who had been tried and executed in 1958.

According to Sergei Tretyakov
Sergei Tretyakov (intelligence officer)
Colonel Sergei Tretyakov was a Russian SVR officer who defected to the United States in October 2000.-Biography:...

, 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 USSR.

During the August Coup of 1991, Kryuchkov was among the gang of eight
Gang of Eight (Soviet Union)
The State Committee on the State of Emergency was a group of eight high-level officials within the Soviet government, the Communist party and the KGB who attempted a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev on 18 August 1991...

 that led the State Emergency Committee (Государственный Комитет по Чрезвычайному Положению, ГКЧП) that temporarily ousted Gorbachev
Soviet coup attempt of 1991
The 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt , also known as the August Putsch or August Coup , was an attempt by a group of members of the Soviet Union's government to take control of the country from Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev...

. Following the failed coup attempt, Kryuchkov was imprisoned for his participation. However, in 1994 the State Duma
State Duma
The State Duma , common abbreviation: Госду́ма ) in the Russian Federation is the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia , the upper house being the Federation Council of Russia. The Duma headquarters is located in central Moscow, a few steps from Manege Square. Its members are referred to...

 freed him in an amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

. Kryuchkov was replaced as chairman of the KGB by Leonid Shebarshin
Leonid Shebarshin
Leonid Vladimirovich Shebarshin became head of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB in January 1989, when the former FCD chief, Vladimir Kryuchkov, was promoted to KGB chief...

.

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