(b. Kursk, 16 Sept. 1947)
Russian; Russian Vice-President June 1991–Oct. 1993 A former air force officer, distinguished in Afghanistan (where as a colonel and deputy-commander of the 40th Army he was wounded), Rutskoi was promoted to major-general for his role in supporting Yeltsin in the putsch of August 1991. He had been Yeltsin's Vice-President since June 1991. In 1990 he founded the political grouping ‘Communists for Democracy’ within the Russian Parliament (for which he was excluded from the CPSU) which later became the People's Party of Free Russia, part of the Civic Union coalition. He became increasingly critical of Yeltsin's economic reforms and style of government and, with Khasbulatov, led the opposition against him. During the parliamentary crisis of October 1993 he was named President by the Parliament after it deposed Yeltsin but was arrested during the storming of the parliament building though charges of treason were later dropped. He later re-emerged as the founder and leader of a party originally called ‘Free Russia’ and later the ‘Russian Socialists-Democratic People's Party’; this split and his wing became ‘Derzhava-Rutskoi’, but it never took off and his earlier popularity plummeted. He declared his intention to fight the 1996 presidential elections but withdrew his candidacy. He was, however, elected as governor of the Kursk Oblast in the autumn of 1996, but was banned from the 2000 election, hours before the vote, by a regional court over alleged misrepresentation of his property holdings. There were suggestions that the Kremlin was involved in bringing these charges.