The only Communist leader convicted for backing the failed 1991 hard-line Soviet coup was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday.
Latvia’s Supreme Court ruled that the republic’s former Communist Party chief, Alfred Rubiks, conspired to overthrow the Latvian government while others were trying to remove Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow.
“This is not a verdict. This is the beginning of a new repression,” the 60-year-old Rubiks shouted as the sentence was pronounced. Security guards forcibly removed him from the packed courtroom in the Latvian capita, Riga.
In August 1991, when tanks rolled through several Soviet cities, including Riga, Rubiks rushed to express support for the eight-man, self-proclaimed “emergency committee” trying to seize power in Moscow.
He bragged that he would shortly be taking power in Latvia.
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