VLADIMIR KRYUCHKOV, 83
Former KGB chief
Vladimir Kryuchkov, the former KGB chief who spearheaded a failed coup against Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, died Friday in Moscow of an unspecified illness, according to the Federal Security Service, the main KGB successor agency.
Mr. Kryuchkov started working with the KGB in 1967. Seven years later, he was named chief of the KGB's First Main Directorate, in charge of spying abroad. In 1988, Mr. Gorbachev appointed Mr. Kryuchkov as KGB chief.
In 1991, Mr. Kryuchkov joined other hard-line members of the Communist Party leadership who ousted Gorbachev and declared a nationwide state of emergency in an attempt to roll back liberal reforms.
The coup collapsed after three days and helped precipitate the collapse of the Soviet Union later that year.
Mr. Kryuchkov and other coup plotters were jailed, but later given amnesty.
Once elected president in 2000, Vladimir V. Putin, a KGB veteran, repeatedly invited Mr. Kryuchkov and other veterans to Kremlin events.