Brazauskas, Algirdas Mykolas
Algirdas Mykolas Brazauskas, 1932–2010, Lithuanian political leader. A civil engineer and economist, he rose in the Soviet Communist party bureaucracy and Lithuanian SSR government, and in 1988 became first secretary of the Lithuanian branch of the party. He came to support greater Lithuanian autonomy and eventual independence, and in 1989, amid increasing Lithuanian nationalism, he led much of the Lithuanian Communist party to break with the Soviet party and Communist doctrine. Although his party lost the freely constested Lithuanian elections in 1990, he served (1990–91) as deputy prime minister and unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate for Lithuania's independence. In 1992, after independence, his party (now the Democratic Labor party) won the parliamentary elections, and he became parliament chairman and acting president. Elected president in 1993, he supported NATO and European Union membership for Lithuania (achieved in 2004). He retired in 1998, but returned to politics in 2001 to head the Social Democratic party (a merger of his party and the former Social Democratic party) and serve as prime minister (2001–6). He retired as Social Democratic leader in 2007.