The period between the August coup and the end of 1991 has commonly been portrayed as one of administering the final rites to the Soviet Union, but there was still some way to go. Gorbachev returned to Moscow apparently confident that his authority as leader of the Soviet Union would be restored. But he had, by force of circumstance, played no part in resistance to the coup. It was Yeltsin, who had put his life on the line, who could justifiably claim to be the saviour of democracy in the USSR. He brought Gorbachev before the Russian parliament and subjected him to humiliating interrogation, forcing him to name the members of his government who had plotted to remove him. Gorbachev carried on, even defending socialism and the Communist Party, although he was pressured into standing down as General Secretary of the CPSU in August, while retaining his position as President of the USSR. But Yeltsin was now the effective ruler in Moscow, embarking on his own market reform programme and, on 6 November, he decreed the outright banning of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, of which he had until recently been a member. This move, although it proved legally unenforceable, finally sealed the fate of Soviet communism, if the coup had not already done so.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The End of Communism
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number