Gennady Burbulis, top Yeltsin aide, dies

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Gennady Burbulis, a top aide to Russian President Boris Yeltsin who helped prepare and sign the 1991 pact that led to the formal breakup of the Soviet Union, has died. He was 76.

As secretary of state and first deputy chairman of the government from 1991-1992, Burbulis was instrumental in steering the new, post-Soviet Russian state.

With Yeltsin, he was a signatory for Russia to the agreement reached on December 8, 1991, with the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus to disband the Soviet Union. The pact was signed in the Belovezha forest, in what is now Belarus.

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Burbulis is the third key player to the agreement who has died in the past several weeks. Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and former Belarusian President Stanislav Shushkevich both died in May.

The hopes of peaceful coexistence among the three former…

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