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25 Years Since the August Coup

On Aug. 19, 1991, a number of hard-line members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union staged a coup in an attempt to wrest power from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup leaders were opposed to Gorbachev's program of reforms, but they were met with a short but effective campaign of civil resistance. Though the coup failed within two days and Gorbachev returned to power, it is widely regarded as contributing to the destabilization and later collapse of the Soviet Union.