(1947-) Russian politician, founder of the reformist Communists for Democracy group, and vice president of the Russian Federation 1991–93. During the abortive Aug 1991 coup he led the Russian delegation to rescue Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev from his forced confinement in the Crimea. In Sept 1993, with Rusian Khasbulatov, he led the insurrection against Russian president Boris Yeltsin. Both men were arrested and imprisoned but then released 1994 on the instructions of the federal assembly. Shortly after his release, Rutskoi, as leader of the Russian Social Democratic People's Party, professed his support for a reconstituted Soviet Union.
A former air officer and highly decorated Afghan war veteran, Rutskoi became increasingly critical of the Yeltsin administration, especially its price liberalization reforms. In 1992 Yeltsin placed Rutskoi in charge of agricultural reform.