|Administrator of Affair of the Central Committee|
September 1982 – 26 August 1991
|Preceded by||Georgy Pavlov|
|Succeeded by||Post abolished|
|First Secretary of the Tselinograd Regional Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan|
November 1965 – 4 April 1978
|Preceded by||Vasily Demidenko|
|Succeeded by||Nikolay Morozov|
|Full member of the 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th Central Committee|
5 March 1976 – 26 August 1991
|Candidate member of the 24th Central Committee|
9 April 1971 – 5 March 1976
14 May 1928|
Altai Krai, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Died||26 August 1991 (aged 63)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||Communist Party of the Soviet Union|
Nikolay Yefimovich Kruchina (Russian: Николай Ефимович Кручина; 14 May 1928, Siberian Krai (now Altai Krai) - 26 August 1991, Moscow), was a top Soviet communist official, the administrator of affairs of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) since 1983 and until his death, effectively the party's chief treasurer who was responsible for its enormous assets (popularly dubbed as the party's gold, Russian: золото Партии), estimated to be worth nearly $9 billion, which have never been located thereafter.
Kruchina joined the party in 1949. In 1962 he became an instructor for the Agricultural Department of the CPSU. In 1963-1965 he was a secretary of the Tselinny Krai Committee of the Communist Party in the Kazakh SSR, in 1965-1978—the First Secretary of the Tselinograd Oblast Committee of the Communist Party in the Kazakh SSR. In 1973 he was awarded Hero of Socialist Labor. In 1971 Kruchina entered the Central Auditing Committee of the CPSU. In 1971 he became a candidate member and in 1976 a full member of the CPSU Central Committee. In 1978-1983 served as a first deputy chairman of the Agricultural Department of the CPSU then headed by Mikhail Gorbachev, became its Chairman after Gorbachev in 1983 and in the same year, after Yury Andropov's assumption of power, finally replaced Georgy Pavlov as the party's administrator of affairs (upravlyayushchiy delami). It is known that Kruchina's office transferred millions of dollars as a Soviet help to foreign Communist Parties. For the last time Kruchina visited his office on August 19, the day the abortive Soviet coup attempt of 1991 started. In 1966-1989 he was also a Deputy in the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union and in 1989-1991 People's Deputy of the Soviet Union.
Kruchina died as a result of falling out of the window of his apartment in Moscow in the early morning of August 26, five days after the coup attempt. Still, he allegedly left two suicide notes, where it was claimed that he was not a plotter, despite having never been publicly linked to the attempted coup. This wasn't the only alleged suicide among the Soviet leadership those days; Soviet Interior Minister Boris Pugo, one of the plotters, allegedly shot his wife and himself in their apartment on August 22, while Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, Adviser to the President of the USSR on military affairs, allegedly hanged himself in his office on August 24. Kruchina's predecessor, Georgy Pavlov, died the same way as Kruchina did, on October 6. On October 17 Dmitry Lisovolik, former deputy chief of the party's international department, followed his way several weeks after investigators found $600,000 in the office of his boss, Valentin Falin. Kruchina was laid to rest at the Troyekurovskoye Cemetery.
- Soviet Turmoil. New Suicide: Budget Director. The New York Times, August 27, 1991.
- Jackson, James O. The Party Is Over. Time, September 9, 1991.
- Klebnikov, Paul. Godfather of the Kremlin: Boris Berezovsky and the Looting of Russia. New York, 2000. p. 76.
- Tifft, Susan. Desperately Seeking Rubles. Time, November 4, 1991.
- Бунич, Игорь Львович. Золото Партии: Историческая хроника. – Санкт-Петербург: Шанс, 1992. P. 245-314. ISBN 978590074003-4