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|Minister of Interior|
1 December 1990 – 22 August 1991
|Preceded by||Vadim Bakatin|
|Succeeded by||Viktor Barannikov|
|Chairman of the Central Control Commission|
30 September 1988 – April 1991
|Preceded by||Mikhail Solomentsev|
|Succeeded by||Eugene Makhov|
|First Secretary of the Communist Party of Latvia|
14 April 1984 – 4 October 1988
|Preceded by||Augusts Voss|
|Succeeded by||Janis Vagris|
19 February 1937|
Kalinin, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Died||22 August 1991
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Resting place||Troyekurovskoye Cemetery|
|Political party||Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
Pugo was born in Kalinin, Russian SFSR (now Tver, Russia) into a family of Latvian communists who had left Latvia after Latvia was proclaimed an independent country in 1918 and the Communist side defeated in the war that followed. His family returned to Latvia after the Soviet Union occupied and annexed it in 1940.
Pugo graduated from Riga Polytechnical in 1960 and worked in various Komsomol, Communist Party and Soviet government positions, both in Latvia and Moscow. His positions between 1960 and 1984 included the first secretary of the Central Committee of Komsomol of the Latvian SSR, a secretary of the Central Committee of Komsomol of the USSR, the first secretary of the Riga City Committee of the Communist Party, and chairman of the KGB in Latvia.
Pugo was the first secretary of the Communist Party of Latvia from April 14, 1984 to October 4, 1988. Pugo also served as chairman of the Control Commission of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1988 to 1991.
Between 1990 and 1991, he was the Minister of Interior Affairs of the USSR. He participated in the August Coup in 1991 and as the Minister of the Interior firmly supported measures to suppress opposition to the coup. After the coup had failed, he committed suicide, anticipating arrest. He was contacted by the RSFSR prosecution for a meeting and he shot his wife and himself minutes after the phone call.
Despite his background, he had a poor command of the Latvian language.