Postmortem Anatomy of A Coup

The dramatic tale of how a handful of party hacks hijacked Soviet democracy -- until a popular revolt shattered their ill-hatched plans

It might have been the most widely advertised coup in history. Rumors and warnings had begun as early as the summer of 1990. According to British intelligence, elements of the Soviet army and KGB actually rehearsed a coup (under the guise of a countercoup) in February of this year. June brought what was soon called the "constitutional-coup attempt." Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov asked the Supreme Soviet for the authority to issue decrees without Mikhail Gorbachev's knowledge, but was rebuffed. In late July hard- liners published an announcement appealing for "those who recognize the terrible plight into which our country has fallen"...

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