Russians have marked the 25th anniversary of a coup attempt, when a group of hardline members of the USSR Communist Party tried to seize power from then-Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
Today, according to a poll, about half of Russians don’t remember what happened on August 19, 1991. And those who can recall events give them little significance, or prefer not to talk about it, as political analyst Maria Lipman pointed out.
“And also to [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin the idea that people may rise up on their own and make history, and change the course of political events in their country is something that doesn’t make him happy at all. Time and again during his leadership he made this clear,” said political analyst Maria Lipman.
Twenty-five years on many Muscovites have mixed feelings about what happened.
“To be honest, a quarter of a century is a long time,” said Alexander Shishkin. “And I had already forgotten. If you hadn’t reminded me today, I wouldn’t have remembered that something happened 25 years ago today.”
“In general, moving back into the past was impossible then,” said Muscovite Anton. “People knew that and that’s why they went on to the barricades and won in the end.”
At the time it was announced that, for health reasons, the then-President Mikhail Gorbachev could not continue running the country, and a state of emergency was declared.
Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin personally directed resistance from the Russian White House during which three people were killed.
The defeat of the coup, which came several days later, set in motion the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and is widely regarded as a triumph of democracy in Russia.