Soviet Coup Attempt

Soviet Superpower

Russia 1991.0819

Soviet Coup Attempt

The Cold War from the Soviet Union's view (19 August 1991)

Historical Map of Russia & the former Soviet Union

By now the forces unleashed by Gorbachev were beginning to test the structural integrity of the Soviet Union itself. In August 1991, Communist hardliners decided things had gone too far and launched a coup to overthrow Gorbachev and roll back his reforms. But it was too late. The coup lacked popular Russian support and instead Soviet disintegration accelerated.

Main Events

Independence of Georgia

After a referendum on independence is approved by 98.9% of votes, the Republic of Georgia formally declares independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

1991 Sino-Soviet Border Agreement

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics signs a treaty with the People's Republic of China to initiate demarcation work to resolve most of the border disputes between the two states. The demarcation will ultimately be completed by the 1997 deadline, resolving almost all the territorial disputes between the Russian Federation (which would soon replace the USSR) and China.

Croatia & Slovenia declare independence

Following referendums, the Republics of Croatia and Slovenia both declare independence, seceding from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Gorbachev's house arrrest

President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is met by representatives of the Gang of Eight while on holiday in his dacha in Foros, Crimea. After refusing their demands to either declare a state of emergency or resign in favor of Gennady Yanayev, the conspirators order the KGB to confine him to his dacha and shut down his communication lines.

Soviet Coup Attempt

Having placed President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics under house arrest, the eight high-level Soviet officials known as the Gang of Eight declare a state of emergency across the Soviet Union and announce that they have formed the State Committee on the State of Emergency (GKChP) to manage the country and restore Soviet dignity. The GKChP send the Soviet Army into Moscow, Leningrad, the Baltic states, and Moldova but fail to capture Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who holds out in the White House, Moscow. After a couple of days of mounting popular opposition, the Army chooses to withdraw rather than fire on civilians and the coup attempt collapses.

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