Ruslan Imranovich Khasbulatov: Economist and Politician

Ruslan Imranovich Khasbulatov (Russian: Русла́н Имранович Хасбула́тов) was a notable Russian economist and politician, known for his significant role in the events leading up to the 1993 constitutional crisis in the Russian Federation. Born on 22 November 1942 in Tolstoy-Yurt, a village near Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, Khasbulatov’s life was marked by his contributions to politics and economics.

Early Life and Academic Pursuits

Ruslan Khasbulatov’s journey began with hardship when, in February 1944, he was deported to Central Asia during the Chechen deportations. His determination and thirst for knowledge led him to study in Almaty before moving to Moscow in 1962. In the bustling academic environment of Moscow, he pursued law studies at the prestigious Moscow State University.

After graduating in 1966, he joined the ranks of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, where he continued to expand his academic horizons. Khasbulatov’s focus shifted towards the political, social, and economic development of capitalist countries, earning him several advanced degrees between 1970 and 1980. During the 1970s and 1980s, he authored numerous books on international economics and trade, showcasing his deep understanding of the subject.

Political Career and Collaboration with Boris Yeltsin

In the late 1980s, Khasbulatov’s political journey took a new turn as he began working closely with the rising maverick in the Communist Party, Boris Yeltsin. His entry into the political arena culminated with his election to the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian SFSR in 1990. In this period, he stood shoulder to shoulder with Yeltsin in successfully resisting the putsch attempt in 1991.

Khasbulatov’s political evolution continued as he quit the Communist Party in August 1991. On 29 October 1991, he was elected as the speaker of the Supreme Soviet of RSFSR.

Key Role in the 1993 Constitutional Crisis

While Khasbulatov had been an ally of Yeltsin during the earlier resistance to the 1991 coup attempt, their paths diverged following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. After the USSR’s collapse, Khasbulatov solidified his influence over the Russian parliament, becoming the second most powerful figure in Russia, trailing only Yeltsin himself.

However, the escalating clash of egos between Khasbulatov and Yeltsin played a pivotal role in triggering the Russian constitutional crisis of 1993. During this crisis, Khasbulatov, along with Vice-President Alexander Rutskoy, led the Supreme Soviet of Russia in a power struggle against the president. This tumultuous period ended with Yeltsin’s forceful assault on and subsequent dissolution of the parliament in October 1993.

Aftermath and Later Life

Following the crisis, Khasbulatov and other parliament leaders were arrested. In 1994, after the election of a new Duma, he, along with other key figures of the anti-Yeltsin resistance, received a pardon.

Khasbulatov later contemplated running for the 2003 election for President of the Chechen Republic, following the Second Chechen War. However, he ultimately decided not to enter the race. In the 2021 Chechen head election, he endorsed the incumbent, Ramzan Kadyrov.

After retiring from politics, Khasbulatov returned to his earlier profession as a teacher of economics. He founded and headed the Department of International Economy at the Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics (REA). He continued to be an active commentator on political developments in Russia.

Ruslan Imranovich Khasbulatov’s significant contributions to Russian politics and his enduring interest in economics marked him as a prominent figure in the nation’s history. His passing was reported on 3 January 2023.