The right-hand man and later the biggest critic of the Soviet leader Gorb …

Legachev was best known as the man behind the then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (photo).
Photo: AFP

Russian politician Igor Legachev died in Moscow on Friday at the age of 100. That reports the Russian state news agency STAS. Legachev is best known as the man behind the then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, whom he distanced himself from after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Legachev is, among other things, the mastermind behind Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign in the 1980s, which the Soviet people appreciated only mildly. He was held in high esteem in the CPSU and the Politburo, and soon became the second man in the Kremlin after Gorbachev.

But when he began his more liberal policy of glasnost and perestroika – openness and reform – he turned against the Soviet leader and became one of his staunch critics. He called his support for Gorbachev, now 90, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, his “biggest personal mistake.”

Even when Boris Yeltsin came to power, Legachev remained a frightening critic of the Kremlin. For example, he was said to have addressed the then leader at a party conference with the phrase “Boris, you are wrong” after he did a political analysis, Legachev said. Legachev died in a Moscow hospital on Friday evening.

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