Soviet Union: Four Desperate Days

A riveting diary kept by Anatoli Chernyayev, Gorbachev's top foreign policy aide, describes how plotters imprisoned the President in the Crimea -- and how the tide turned against them

Anatoli Chernyayev first met Mikhail Gorbachev almost 20 years ago when they were both members of a Soviet delegation traveling abroad. In 1986 the former history professor, who had spent more than two decades with the Central Committee's international department, was made a top adviser to the man who had recently become the leader of the Soviet Union. In August 1991, over four desperate days, he shared house arrest with his President.

When Gorbachev and his family went on vacation to the Crimea in early August, Chernyayev, 70, and other members of the presidential staff accompanied them, staying at a health...

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