Former Russian parliament speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov dies: TV

Former Russian parliament chairman Ruslan Khasbulatov -- who was a close ally of president Boris Yeltsin before turning against him in 1993 -- has died, state television said on Tuesday.

Khasbulatov, an ethnic Chechen, died at his home outside Moscow aged 80, the television report said, citing relatives.

An economist by training, Khasbulatov was a close ally of Yeltsin in the dying days of the Soviet Union.The two resisted the August 1991 coup together.

Khasbulatov was appointed speaker of the Russian parliament -- called the Supreme Soviet -- after the Soviet Union's fall in 1991 by then-president Yeltsin.

But Yeltsin and Khasbulatov quickly became political rivals, with the power struggle culminating in the 1993 October revolt when Yeltsin sent tanks to storm the parliament building.

Khasbulatov was briefly imprisoned after the rebellion. He was amnestied in 1994 but his political career was over.

"Yeltsin essentially ruined my life," mass-circulation newspaper Argumenty i Fakty quoted Khasbulatov as saying in 2014.

Prominent rights activist Alexander Cherkasov also said that Khasbulatov died Tuesday, but did not provide any details about cause of death.

Cherkasov said on Facebook that Khasbulatov's body will be taken to his native Chechen village of Tolstoi-Yurt.

- Chechnya 'peace plan' -

Khasbulatov was born in Grozny, the capital city of Chechnya, in 1942.

In 2003, he said he would run for president of Chechnya, but later decided against doing so.

Elections in Chechnya were set as part of President Vladimir Putin's plan to bring peace to the shattered republic, where federal forces have been warring with separatists since 1999.

Khasbulatov had been opposed to Putin's "peace plan" for Chechnya, arguing instead that negotiations with separatists were necessary to end the drawn-out war.

The same year Khasbulatov and several other figures publicly appealed to US President George W. Bush to face up to Putin's poor democratic and human rights credentials.

Yelena Bonner, wife of the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, and former political prisoner Vladimir Bukovsky also signed the open letter.

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