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In Photos: The Historic Moscow Protests of 1991

Thirty-two years ago today, hundreds of thousands of Muscovites packed Manezhnaya Ploshchad next to the Kremlin to demand the resignation of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The protests, which started in February 1991 and would continue into the spring, were the biggest in Russia's modern history.

By the end of the year, Gorbachev would resign, the Soviet Union would cease to exist, and Boris Yeltsin would become the first president of modern-day Russia.

An opposition rally of this magnitude would be unheard of just three decades later, as the Kremlin gradually clamped down on public protests throughout the 2010s until they were effectively outlawed altogether.

Here is a look back at the historic protests of winter and spring 1991: