Shenin, 71, plotted against Gorbachev

The Associated PressMay 30, 2009 

— Soviet Communist Party official Oleg Shenin, who played an active part in an abortive attempt to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991, has died in Moscow, the Russian Communist Party said Friday. He was 71.

The Communist Party's statement said Shenin died Thursday, but did not give a cause of death.

Shenin was part of a group of party hardliners disillusioned by the steady breakdown of communist institutions who briefly unseated Gorbachev in their attempts to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The group attempted to hold Gorbachev under house arrest, but the three-day coup failed when the army refused to quell protests backing Boris Yeltsin, who was leading the opposition to the plotters. The August 1991 coup sped the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Shenin and the other plotters were arrested immediately after the coup's failure and remained in custody until they were given amnesty in 1994. After his release, Shenin led a small Communist group and fiercely opposed free-market reforms.

Shenin began his career as a construction manager and then rose steadily through the Soviet Communist Party's ranks. He worked in Afghanistan as an adviser during the Soviet war there and was promoted to more senior positions after his return home.

In 1990 he reached the top of the Soviet regime, becoming the full member of the Communist Party's ruling Politburo.

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