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(so͞okär`nō), 1901–70, Indonesian statesman, first president of Indonesia. A leader of the radical nationalist movement founded in 1927, he was jailed and exiled by the Dutch at various times in the 1930s. During World War II, Sukarno cooperated with the Japanese when Indonesia was occupied by them, while still continuing his agitation for Indonesian independence. After the war he and Mohammad HattaHatta, Mohammad
, 1902–80, Indonesian political leader. He was born on Sumatra into an aristocratic family. Interested in economics, he went to the Netherlands to study. There he joined the Indonesian independence movement and edited the journal Indonesia Merdeka.
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 played a crucial part in the establishment (Aug., 1945) of the Republic of IndonesiaIndonesia
, officially Republic of Indonesia, republic (2015 est. pop. 258,162,000), c.735,000 sq mi (1,903,650 sq km), SE Asia, in the Malay Archipelago. The fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia comprises more than 15,000 islands extending c.
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. In the 1950s, Sukarno attempted to consolidate his multi-island nation. He established (1956) a "guided democracy," with a cabinet that represented all political parties. Regional and factional problems, however, led him, in July, 1959, to dissolve the constituent assembly and assume full dictatorial powers. In 1962, Sukarno ordered sporadic raids on Dutch New Guinea, intensifying a conflict that resulted in UN intervention; his action, however, brought Dutch New Guinea under Indonesian administration in May, 1963. Sukarno, who proclaimed himself president for life in 1963, increased his country's ties to Communist China in the late 1950s and 60s and admitted increasing numbers of Communists and pro-Communists to his government. In 1963 he announced his opposition to the British-sponsored Federation of Malaysia and withdrew (1965) Indonesia from the United Nations after Malaysia took its seat on the Security Council. An attempted coup late in 1965, which was blamed on the Communists, led to a military takeover in Indonesia by General SuhartoSuharto
or Soeharto
, 1921–2008, president of Indonesia (1967–98). A veteran of the war for independence (1945–49) against the Dutch, he became army chief of staff in 1965.
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, who replaced Sukarno as effective ruler of Indonesia. In 1966, Sukarno was stripped of his title of president for life. He remained under house arrest until his death. Megawati SukarnoputriMegawati Sukarnoputri
, 1947–, Indonesian political leader, president of Indonesia (2001–4). The daughter of former president Sukarno, she is seen by many as her father's political heir.
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 is his daughter.


See C. L. M. Penders, The Life and Times of Sukarno (1974); J. D. Legge, Sukarno (2d ed. 1985).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Born June 6, 1901, in Surabaya; died June 21, 1970, in Jakarta. Indonesian public and state figure.

The son of a teacher, Sukarno lived from 1915 to 1920 with the family of Tjokroaminoto, a well-known figure of Indonesia’s national liberation movement. In 1925 he graduated from the Bandung Technical College. In 1926 he helped organize the Bandung Study Club, which laid the groundwork for the establishment of the National Party of Indonesia (NPI; founded 1927). Sukarno served as the NPI’s first chairman.

In December 1929, Sukarno was arrested by the Dutch colonial authorities. In 1932, having regained his freedom, he joined the Indonesia Party (from 1931 the successor of the NPI, which had dissolved after Sukarno’s arrest) and was elected its chairman. Again arrested in 1933, he was interned on the island of Flores. In 1938 he was transferred to southern Sumatra, where he remained until the Japanese invasion of Indonesia in 1942.

In his writings, Sukarno formulated the ideology of marhaenism (an Indonesian type of petit bourgeois socialism), which was inseparably linked to the national liberation struggle. During the Japanese occupation of 1942–45, Sukarno remained outwardly loyal to the occupation authorities while actually working in the interest of the liberation movement and maintaining his ties with the country’s patriotic underground organizations. On Aug. 17, 1945, on behalf of the Indonesian people, Sukarno proclaimed the independence of the Netherlands colony known as the Dutch East Indies and the establishment of the Republic of Indonesia and became the republic’s first president. He was one of the organizers of the 1955 Bandung Conference of Asian and African nations and played a leading role in its preparation as well as in the conference itself. In 1960 he was awarded the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Between Nations.

In the late 1950’s, Sukarno adopted a new system of government—a “guided democracy”—that significantly strengthened the president’s personal powers. The title of “great leader of the revolution” was conferred on Sukarno in 1963 by the Provisional People’s Consultative Congress (PPCC), which also appointed him president for life.

Sukarno’s influence in Indonesia’s political life waned after 1965, when a right-wing military group assumed power as a result of the September 30 Movement. In March 1966, Sukarno was forced to surrender all power to General Suharto, minister in command of ground forces. The PPCC, meeting in July 1966, revoked its appointment of Sukarno to the presidency for life. On Feb. 20,1967, Sukarno officially surrendered presidential authority to General Suharto.


In Russian translation:
Indoneziia obviniaet. Moscow, 1956.
Sarina. Moscow, 1958.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Soekarno
Achmed . 1901--70, Indonesian statesman; first president of the Republic of Indonesia (1945--67)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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