Janaev, Gennadij

Геннадий Иванович Янаев (Gennadij Ivanovič Janaev)

b. 26 Aug 1937, Perevoz, Perevoz region, Gor'kij province, USSR
d. 24 Sep 2010, Moscow

Title: Исполняющий обязанности Президента СССР (Acting President of the USSR)
Term: 19 Aug 1991 - 21 Aug 1991
Chronology: 27 Dec 1990, elected Vice-Prezident SSSR by the Fourth Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR [1]
19 Aug 1991, assumed the presidency of the USSR according to a decree, which he himself signed on 18 Aug 1991 (effective 19 Aug 1991) [2]
21 Aug 1991, following the failure of coup in Moscow ceased to exercise the functions of President of the USSR
4 Sep 1991, discharged of duties of Vice President, resolution of the Fifth Extraordinary Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR [3]
Educated as agriculture engineer, Gennadij Janaev joined the Communist party in 1962. He started his career as a Komsomol leader serving as a second secretary (1963-1966) and then as a first secretary (1966-1968) of the Komsomol organization in his home region, Gorky province. In 1968 he was made Chairman of the Committee of the Youth Organizations of the USSR. In 1980 Janaev became deputy chairman of the Presidium of the Soviet Associations of Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. In the course of perestroika, Janaev took important post as a secretary for foreign affairs of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions (1986-1989) and then was promoted to deputy chairman in this organization in 1989. Janaev shortly headed the Soviet trade unions as the chairman of the Central Council of Trade Unions (Apr 1990 - Jul 1990), but the 28th party congress elected him a member of the Central Committee (1990-1991), which in turn elected him a member of the Politburo (14 Jul 1990 - 31 Jan 1991) and a secretary of the Central Committee (14 Jul 1990 - 31 Jan 1991) responsible for foreign affairs. Janaev resigned his office in the Central Council of Trade Unions and joined the higher party structures. On 27 Dec 1990, President Mihail Gorbačëv nominated Yanayev for the post of Vice-President, but he failed to win the first vote at the Congress of People's Deputies (1,089 for, 583 against). Gorbačëv refused to nominate another candidate and Yanayev eventually won on the second ballot and became Vice President of the USSR (27 Dec 1990 - 4 Sep 1991). Analysts viewed Yanayev as a compromise selection chosen to placate hard-liners in the CPSU. On 19 Aug 1991, Janaev and seven other state officials declared the creation of the State Committee for the State of Emergency and claimed that they were taking over the governing of the nation. While Gorbačëv was falsely declared ill, Janaev assumed the duties of President of the USSR. When the coup failed, largely due to public disdain, Janaev was arrested (22 Aug 1991) and charged with treason. The trial of Janaev and 11 others was postponed in May 1993 amid allegations that it had been compromised by pretrial publicity. In February 1994 the legislature dominated by nationalists and hard-liners granted amnesty for all the alleged conspirators.
Biographical sources: Gosudarstvennaja vlast' SSSR (1999), 620-621.

[1] VSND i VS SSSR, 1991, No. 1, item 18.
[2] Moskovskaja pravda, 20 Aug 1991, No. 160.
[3] VSND i VS SSSR, 1991, No. 37, item 1080.