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Digital Archive International History Declassified

Biographies

Valentin Pavlov

Prime Minister of the U.S.S.R. from January to August 1991.

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Biography

b. September 26, 1937 - d. March 30, 2003

Valentin Sergeyevich Pavlov was the Prime Minister of the Soviet Union from January to August 1991. He was one of the leaders of the August Coup that attempted to depose Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991.

Pavlov had been a government economist and head of the Gosplan’s finance department and had been an official in the finance ministry since 1959 when he became Soviet finance minister in 1989. He joined the Politburo in 1990. After the collapse of the Ryzkhov government, Pavlov was elected to the new position of Prime Minister as a compromise candidate. Gorbachev was facing increasing resistance to perestroika due to the unpopularity of the reforms and the high inflation they caused. The growing political crisis and his opposition to the proposed Union Treaty that was to decentralize power in the USSR to the republics influenced him to join the State Committee for the State of Emergency led by Gennady Yanayev, Boris Pugo, Dmitri Yazov and other hardliners. The Committee launched the August Coup which attempted to depose Gorbachev on August 19, 1991.

With the collapse of the coup, Pavlov was sacked as Prime Minister on August 22 and then arrested on August 29th. He was released from prison after several months and granted an amnesty in May 1994.

After his release, Pavlov became head of a commercial bank and conducted research for several academies. He became a vice president of both the Free Economic Society of Russia and the International Management Academy.

He defended the coup for the rest of his life and, in 2001, expressed his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.