By RT | August 18, 2010
On this date in 1991, a coup attempt against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began and he lost his position as leader of the USSR.
During the time he was the USSR’s leader, he instituted policies to reform domestic economic structures and foreign policies.
Gorbachev was battling on two fronts: the hardcore communists felt he was causing the demise of the Soviet Union, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, people like Boris Yeltsin didn’t think Gorbachev was going far enough in his reforms.
By August 1991, hard-line elements of the Soviet government and military decided to act and staged a coup against Gorbachev. Gorbachev was put under house arrest, and his enemies demanded that he resign as leader of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev refused, but many outside of Russia began to feel that his government could not survive. Yeltsin and many of his supporters, who had taken refuge in the Russian Parliament, then stepped in. Yeltsin correctly perceived that if the coup were successful, even the limited reforms begun by Gorbachev would be destroyed. He called on the Russian people to strike and take to the streets to oppose the coup. The people responded by the thousands, and the poorly organized coup collapsed only a few days later. The damage to the Gorbachev regime was nonetheless disastrous. In December 1991, with the Soviet Union crumbling around him, he resigned as leader of the nation.
And as we all know, Yeltsin then took control and the red flag sporting the hammer and sickle was eventually taken down…hopefully forever.
The Russian government rubs me the wrong way. They seem desperate to “act big” and to be a presence, rather than focusing on domestic matters–they seem to lack a balance (much like us). They still bully smaller countries and separatists. They still bring a dark cloud wherever they go.
I don’t know what the future holds for Russia, but the uncertainty of Russia and the combined unknowns about China (or the ignored knowns), just make for scary possiblities to ponder.