Before the mutiny of the mercenary group, Russia faced two major uprisings

Before the mutiny of the mercenary group, Russia faced two major uprisings


After the uprising launched by the Russian mercenary group Wagner against Moscow, AFP looks back at the biggest previous threats to the Kremlin since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The failed coup of 1991

In August 1991, four months before the fall of the Soviet Union, president Mikhail Gorbachev survived a failed attempt by Communist hardliners to seize power to prevent the signing a treaty that granted a large degree of autonomy to the 15 republics that made up the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev was vacationing at his dacha in Crimea when he was taken prisoner there by the KGB, the Soviet secret police force, on August 19. Troops and tanks were also deployed on the streets of Moscow.

Over the next three days, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to defend Russian democracy.

The resistance centered on the White House, the parliament building in Moscow, which had become a symbol of opposition to the uprising.

Boris Yeltsin, the newly elected president of the Russian republic – the largest republic of the Soviet Union – led the counterattack, famously in front of the crowd atop one of the tanks that surrounded the parliament building.

Within two days, the coup was over and Gorbachev returned to Moscow a day after it was over, but it weakened his influence and made Yeltsin the dominant leader.

Within a few months, the Soviet republics began to declare their independence.

Parliament uprising of 1993

Two years later, from September 21 to October 4, 1993, Yeltsin found himself at the center of an even greater crisis, as hardline Communist and nationalist delegates led the way. started a bloody uprising that ended with tanks attacking the parliament.

The uprising broke out after months of political stalemate, after Yeltsin signed a decree dissolving the Supreme Soviet, as the legislature was called at the time.

It created a confrontation with the Communist-dominated parliament, which voted to remove Yeltsin from the leadership position and empower vice-president Alexander Rutskoy, who joined the opposition.

Supporters of Congress barricaded themselves with rebel congressmen inside the White House while opponents of Yeltsin protested outside.

The rebels seized the Moscow mayor’s office and part of the state television center.

Yeltsin eventually quelled the uprising by ordering tanks and troops to open fire on the White House on October 4.

Entire floors of the 18-story building were reduced to rubble and the leaders of the uprising were jailed.

The official death toll is 148, although the rebels claim that around 1,000 people have died.

In December of that year, a new constitution strengthening the powers of the president was passed by referendum.

But Yeltsin’s supporters suffered defeat in the parliamentary elections, and MPs later voted to pardon the leaders of the uprising.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)


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