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Oleg Baklanov, last Soviet coup plotter, dies

Oleg Baklanov, the last member of a failed coup against then USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, has died aged 89, the head of the Russian space agency said on Wednesday.

“Oleg Dmitriyevich Baklanov, who led our rocket and space industry and headed the ministry of general machine-building of the USSR, has passed away,” the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, said on Twitter.

The cause of death was not immediately clear.

As minister of general machine-building, Baklanov oversaw the Soviet space industry in the 1980s.

He also served as first deputy chairman of the Soviet Union’s defence council.

He was one of a group of hardline communists unhappy with Gorbachev’s liberal reforms who led an unsuccessful coup attempt in August 1991.

Its leaders were arrested three days later, but the attempted overthrow heralded the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was finally dissolved in December 1991.

Baklanov was released from prison in 1993 and granted amnesty the following year.

He was the last surviving leader of the attempted coup.

Last year, another coup leader, Dmitry Yazov, died. Yazov, the last marshal of the Soviet Union, had served as defence minister between 1987 and 1991.