(b. Volgograd, 29 Feb. 1924; d. Moscow, 23 Nov. 2007)
Russian; Chairman of the KGB 1988–91 Kryuchkov was born into a working-class family. He was a factory worker from 1941 to 1944, having left school early because of the war. In 1944 he joined the Communist Party and held a number of low-level party posts in Stalingrad. He trained as a lawyer by correspondence and graduated in 1949. In 1954 he joined the Soviet Embassy in Hungary working under Andropov. From 1959 to 1967 he continued to work under Andropov in the apparatus of the Central Committee in Moscow. When Andropov became chairman of the KGB in 1967, Kryuchkov went with him. He served successively as Chief of Secretariat, First Deputy Head, and Head of the First Chief Directorate (responsible for foreign intelligence). In 1985 he supported Gorbachev's succession. Kryuchkov adapted himself to the language of Gorbachev's ‘New Foreign Policy’ and mounted a KGB publicity campaign which fitted the requirements of glasnost. In 1988 he became a full member of the Central Committee. On 1 October 1988 he replaced Chebrikov as chairman of the KGB. In September 1989 he became a full member of the Politburo. Kryuchkov was opposed to the dismantling of the Soviet Union and was one of the main organizers of the unsuccessful coup of August 1991. He was arrested and jailed, but then released in an amnesty granted by the Duma in 1994. He subsequently wrote his memoirs and gave regular interviews critical of Yeltsin and Gorbachev.