There has been a failed coup in Turkey as you know – but do you remember the failed Soviet coup of 1991? Many people don’t – and it is the 25th anniversary of the coup!
The Soviet coup was a complete surprise to the US, the western government, as well as the Russians themselves. It all started when Mikhail Gorbachev became general secretary of the Communist Party in 1985 and started to release the Russians from the Soviet grip.
In 1985, the country was economically in the exact same condition it was in 10 years ago in 1975 – no growth and the country could not produce enough goods for it’s population. Gorbachev most notably started the “Perestroika” which is what the political movement reformation within the Communist party which implemented the Glasnost (meaning “openness”) policy giving more market-like freedoms to Russia and its various states (Ukraine, Belarus, etc). Most notable, the act provided more free speech and independent news stations to open the door for more democratic actions.
Come 1989, the Berlin wall suddenly fell with U.S. pressure and further readied Russia for the inevitable political shift. In 1990, Gorbachev actually took huge steps in cutting back on their military budget and lowered the amount of nuclear arms in Soviet possession. He even won a Noble Peace Prize for that!
All these actions, radical for a Soviet leader, lead to the break away of soviet states including Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and others. Not exactly the reaction Gorbachev expected but he did nothing to stop it and instead attempted to strengthen ties to the new states – which worried the other senior Soviet leaders. The Soviets finally lost their patience when Gorbachev and other leaders drafted a new and more free USSR. It was in August 1991 that the conservative Soviets launched a coup to stop the referendum and restore the old Soviet ways.
Here is where the coup gets really interesting. The Soviet coup was mainly in Moscow and was mostly military forces including tanks. The coup was cut short by local civil resistance. The people actually wanted freedom so much, they went up against the military forces and beat it!
Let this be a reminder to all those who attempt a coup against the totalitarian forces of evil. The ingredients for freedom in the face of oppression: people and spirit. The rest will take care of itself.