AFP looks back at the biggest threat the Kremlin has survived since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, after Russian mercenary group Wagner launched an insurrection against Moscow.
– 1991 coup failed –
In August 1991, four months before the Soviet Union collapsed, communist hardliners tried to seize power and blocked the signing of a treaty that would have given the Soviet Union a high degree of autonomy for its 15 republics, but President Mikhail Gorbachev was spared in difficulty.
On August 19, Gorbachev was captured by the KGB (KGB), the Soviet secret police, while vacationing at his dacha in Crimea. Troops and tanks were also deployed on the streets of Moscow.
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For the next three days, tens of thousands took to the streets in defense of Russian democracy.
The resistance has centered on the White House, the parliament building in Moscow, which has become a symbol of opposition to the coup.
Boris Yeltsin, the newly elected president of the Soviet Union’s largest republic of Russia, led the pushback, famously addressing the crowd from a tank surrounding parliament.
Within two days, the coup died down, and Gorbachev returned to Moscow a day after the coup ended, but the incident weakened his influence and made Yeltsin the dominant leader.
Within months, the Soviet republics began declaring their independence.
– 1993 Parliamentary Rebellion –
Two years later, between Sept. 21 and Oct. 4, 1993, Yeltsin found himself at the center of a larger crisis, when hardline Communist and nationalist representatives led a bloody rebellion that culminated in tank attacks Parliament ends.
The rebellion broke out after months of political stalemate after Yeltsin signed a decree dissolving the Supreme Soviet, as the legislature was then called.
It was deadlocked with the Communist-dominated parliament, which voted to remove Yeltsin as leader and hand his powers to Vice President Alexander Rutskoy, who joined the opposition.
Parliamentary supporters and rebel lawmakers barricaded the White House, while Yeltsin’s opponents demonstrated outside.
Rebels seized the Moscow mayor’s office and seized part of the state television center.
Yeltsin finally put down the rebellion on October 4 by ordering tanks and troops to fire on the White House.
Entire floors of the 18-story building were reduced to rubble and rebel leaders were imprisoned.
The official death toll was 148, but rebels claimed around 1,000 were killed.
In December of the same year, a referendum approved a new constitution that strengthened the powers of the president.
But Yeltsin’s supporters were defeated in parliamentary elections, and lawmakers then voted to grant amnesty to the uprising leader.