Mykolas Burokevičius, the former first secretary of the Lithuanian Communist Party and opponent of the country's independence, passed away aged 88 on Tuesday.
Mykolas Burokevičius

Burokevičius died of heart failure in hospital following years of illness, according to Russian news site

Burokevičius took over leadership of the Lithuanian Communist Party in 1990 and headed it until it was outlawed in 1991.

An active opponent of Lithuania's independence from the Soviet Union, Burokevičius was tried for taking part in the attempted coup against the Lithuanian government by the Soviet special forces in January 1991.

In 1999, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was released in 2006.

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