(1937-) Soviet communist politician, leader of the Aug 1991 anti-Gorbachev attempted coup, after which he was arrested and charged with treason. He was released 1994 under an amnesty. He was vice president of the USSR 1990–91.
Yanayev rose in the ranks as a traditional, conservative-minded communist bureaucrat to become member of the Politburo and Secretariat, and head of the official Soviet labor-union movement from 1990. In Dec 1990 he was President Gorbachev’s surprise choice for vice president. In Aug 1991, however, Yanayev became titular head of the eight-member “emergency committee” that launched the reactionary coup against Gorbachev.