Gennady Burbulis, senior Yeltsin adviser and official, dies at 76

MOSCOW — Gennady Burbulis, a top aide to Russian President Boris Yeltsin who helped prepare and sign the 1991 pact that led to the formal breakup of the Soviet Union, has died. He was 76 years old.

As Secretary of State and First Deputy Prime Minister from 1991 to 1992, Burbulis was instrumental in leading the new post-Soviet Russian state.

With Yeltsin, he was a signatory for Russia of the agreement concluded on December 8, 1991 with the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus to dissolve the Soviet Union. The pact was signed in the Belovezha Forest, in present-day Belarus.

Burbulis is the third key player in the deal who has died in recent weeks. Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and former Belarusian President Stanislav Shushkevich both died in May.

Hopes of peaceful coexistence between the three former Soviet republics have been dashed since the start of the Russian military operation in Ukraine in February. Russian President Vladimir Putin then said in a televised speech that the Soviet collapse followed “historical and strategic mistakes” by Communist leaders.

Burbulis died in Baku, where he flew to a conference.

“He was not sick, he felt well and he just participated in the IX World Forum in Baku, which discussed the issue of ‘threat to world order,'” said his press officer, Andrey Markov, to the Interfax news agency. .

Burbulis was born on August 4, 1945 in Pervouralsk. He helped Yeltsin during his rise to the head of Soviet Russia in 1990, then of independent Russia in 1991, as its first president.

From 1993 to 1999, Burbulis was a deputy, then deputy governor of the Novgorod region.

“Another key figure in European transformation has left us. Burbulis was influential like few others in breaking with the Soviet past and trying to build a new, democratic Russia,” Swedish diplomat Carl Bildt tweeted on Sunday.

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