A former governor of Russia's Tula region and an ex-member of the State Committee for Emergency Situations (GKChP), who was behind the 1991 Russian putsch, Vasily Starodubtsev, died on Friday at the age of 80, the incumbent governor, Vladimir Gruzdev said.
“The State Duma deputy from Tula region and an Honored Citizen of Tula region, [Vasily] Starodubtsev died tonight. My sincere condolences to the relatives,” the governor said in a Twitter update.
Starodubtsev, who headed Tula region from 1997 to 2005, died of a heart attack as he felt bad at his 80th birthday celebration on Sunday. He died in a local hospital in the town of Novomoskovsk in the Tula region at 4 a.m. local time.
The ex-governor was one of eight members of the State Committee for Emergency Situations (GKChP) that staged the 1991 putsch, a coup d'état attempt which triggered the collapse of the Soviet Union.
At the time of putsch there were some jibes aimed at Starodubtsev, whose position as head of the Collective Farms Council was relatively insignificant compared to the other committee members, many of them military or security ministers. An Izvestia reporter once asked him: “And who are you? Who invited you here?”
Starodubtsev will be buried in the village of Spasskoye in the Tula region, next to his wife and the son on January 2, the head of the regional Communist party, Oleg Lebedev said.