After the Communist Collapse

After the Communist Collapse

On Saturday, August 24, 1991, a huge crowd surrounded the buildings of the Central Committee of the Communist party of the Soviet Union (CC-CPSU) on Staraya Square in Moscow. The defeat of the conservative putsch that had begun on August 19 and Mikhail Gorbachev’s return to Moscow on the night of August 21 did not mean that the president of the USSR could once again fulfill his functions. The Soviet government, in whose name the prime minister, Valentin Pavlov, had joined the State Committee on the Emergency Situation, was paralyzed, its ministers suspended from duty. The head of the president’s office, Valery Boldin, a major participant in the attempted coup, was under arrest, together with the chairman of the KGB, Vladimir Kryuchkov, the minister of defense, Marshal Dmitry Yazov, and the chairman of the secretariat of the CC-CPSU, Oleg Shenin. The minister of internal affairs, Boris Pugo, had committed suicide. From the evening of August 21 power in Moscow shifted almost entirely into the hands of Boris Yeltsin, who could dictate whatever terms he wished to Gorbachev.

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Lima