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FILE - In this Aug. 19, 1991 file photo, crowds of people surround and climb on tanks which were stopped by the crowd as they drove towards the Red Square area of Moscow, Russia, during a military coup after the announced ousting of Mikhail Gorbachev from power. As the 25th anniversary of the so-called August Coup draws near this Friday, The Associated Press has talked to participants and witnesses of those critical days when Muscovites turned out to defend the spirit of democracy that Gorbachev had unleashed, and many Soviet officers defied their orders and sided with the people, ensuring that that the plotters failed. (AP Photo/Boris Yurchenko, file)

Russia marks 25th years since failed Soviet coup

WT24 Desk

Moscow — Russians are marking the 25th anniversary of a coup attempt which heralded the demise of the Soviet Union, AP reports.

A group of eight hard-line Communist leaders on Aug. 19, 1991, seized power from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, declaring him ill. In fact, Gorbachev was under arrest. Thousands of Muscovites took to the streets to protest the coup which intended to roll back Gorbachev’s reformist policies.

The defeat of the coup, which came several days later, setting in motion the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is widely regarded as a triumph of democracy in Russia. Those who opposed the coup 25 years ago will gather outside the Russian White House later on Friday to mark the holiday which is not widely observed in Russia.

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