August Coup Ends in USSR

August Coup Ends in USSR

On August 21, 1991, the communist hard-liner coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev ends with the arrest of the seven living conspirators. On August 18, the coup leaders, who were critical of his liberal reforms, detained Gorbachev. Claiming that he had fallen ill and was unfit to rule, the conspirators attempted to form an emergency government. However, they failed to arrest the popularly elected Russian President Boris Yeltsin, who rallied opposition to the coup at the Russian Parliament building. After a tense standoff, the army defected to Yeltsin’s side, and the coup collapsed. Gorbachev recognized Yeltsin’s new authority, and the Communist Party was dissolved. The Soviet republics were granted independence, and by 1992 the United Soviet Socialist Republic no longer existed.