Moscow, Soviet Union
August 25, 1991
Fearing reprisals for demonstrating in front of the KGB building at Lubyanka Square just days after a failed coup d'état (August 19-21, 1991), also known as the August Putsch or August Coup. A small group of the Soviet government officials briefly deposed president Mikhail Gorbachev in an attempted to take control of the country. The coup leaders were hard-line members of the Communist Party (CPSU) who felt that Gorbachev's reforms had gone too far in dispersing the central government's power to the republics - better known as perestroika. The coup collapsed in three days, and Gorbachev returned to power, crushing the Soviet leader's hopes that the union could be held together in a decentralized form.