The Russian Coup (1991)

Diary entry

Moscow 19th August 1991

I was listening to Radio Moscow on short wave in Limerick, Ireland and the program was interrupted. Then there was some orchestral music.

News of  an attempted Coup in Moscow. Boris Yeltsin is in front of a Tank and Gorbachev is on holiday at Black Sea. It’s not clear if he is in protective custody, abducted by the plotters of the Coup or under arrest.

Later the only Irish news is on Aertel and has nothing not already announced on Radio Moscow. It is very confusing. In retrospect this is what happened.

Yeltsin issued a declaration in which it was stated that a reactionary anti-constitutional coup had taken place. The military was urged not to take part in the coup. The declaration called for a general strike with the demand to let Mikhail Gorbachev address the people. This declaration was distributed around Moscow in the form of flyers.

In the afternoon the citizens of Moscow began to gather around the White House and to erect barricades around it. In response Gennady Yanayev declared the state of emergency in Moscow at 16:00. Yanayev declared at the press conference at 17:00 that Gorbachev was “resting”. He said: “Over these years he has got very tired and needs some time to get his health back.”

Meanwhile, Major Evdokimov, chief of staff of a Tamanskaya tank battalion guarding the White House, declared his loyalty to the leadership of the Russian SFSR. Yeltsin climbed one of the tanks and addressed the crowd. Unexpectedly, this episode was included in the state media’s evening news.


This of course started with the Reunification of Germany last year in 1990 which has cracked apart the USSR.

This is maybe the end of the USSR and the Cold War?

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