Alexander Rutskoy

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Photo by Mikhail Evstafiev.

Alexander Vladimirovich Rutskoy (Russian: Александр Владимирович Руцкой) (born 16 September 1947) is a Russian politician and a former Soviet military officer.[1] Rutskoy served as the only Vice President of Russia from 10 July 1991 to 4 October 1993, and as the governor of Kursk Oblast from 1996 to 2000. In the course of the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993, he was proclaimed acting president of Russia[2][3], in opposition to Boris Yeltsin.

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Early life and career

Alexander Rutskoy was born in Proskuriv, Ukrainian SSR, USSR. Rutskoy graduated from High Air Force School in Barnaul (1971) and Gagarin Air Force Academy in Moscow (1980). He had reached rank of Colonel when he was sent to the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He was in command of an air assault regiment and was shot down twice, in 1986 and the second time in 1988 by an F-16 flown by Sqn. Ldr. Athar Bukhari of the Pakistan Air Force. Rutskoy was then flying a Su-25 aircraft and strayed into Pakistani airspace by mistake. He managed to eject but was captured by mujahideen, interrogated by the Inter-Services Intelligence, given an offer to defect by the Central Intelligence Agency, and subsequently released. For his bravery in 1988 he was awarded Hero of the Soviet Union. As a soldier and a populist, he was chosen by Boris Yeltsin to be his vice presidential running mate in the 1991 Russian presidential election.

Rutskoy was vice president of Russia from 10 July 1991 to 4 October 1993. As vice president, he openly called for the independence of Transnistria and Crimea from Moldova and Ukraine, respectively[4] and telephoned Georgia’s leader Eduard Shevardnadze, threatening to bomb Tbilisi during the war in South Ossetia.[5]

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