Some time on 18 August 1991 a State Emergency Committee was formed in Moscow, including in its numbers Gorbachev’s vice president Gennady Yanaev, KGB chairman Vladimir Kryuchkov, Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov, defence minister Dmitrii Yazov, interior minister Boris Pugo, and Gorbachev’s trusted chief of staff Valeri Boldin. Among their leading supporters they counted some of the country’s top military officials. On the morning of the 19 August, having taken control of all the national newspapers, radio and television stations, the Committee announced that Gorbachev was sick and Yanaev was assuming his powers. Immediately exposing this claim as a lie, they also announced a six month state of emergency, a ban on strikes, demonstrations, opposition political activities, and the subordination of all levels of government to the Committee. Tanks appeared on the streets of Moscow, and a number of prominent liberals were arrested and warrants ordered for the arrest of many more.
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