Coup ‘was doomed’ says Russian parliament speaker

Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house, has said the abortive coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1991 was doomed.

The coup began on August 19, 1991, when a group of hard-line communists, the GKChP, ousted Gorbachev to try to halt his perestroika program.

Although it collapsed in less than three days, it precipitated the fall of the Soviet Union and brought Gorbachev’s nemesis, Boris Yeltsin, to power.

Gryzlov, the hero of the mocking Gryzlovman comic series, said the coup, led by Former Soviet Vice-President Gennady Yanayev, could not resolve the problems the USSR had been “accumulating for decades.”

“The GKChP was doomed because [the coup] was an attempt to change the course of history,” he told reporters in Moscow on Friday.

“As a result, millions of people were affected. Economic ties were severed, social policies collapsed, new threats to national security emerged,” Gryzlov said. “All of these problems are still, 20 years on, being felt by countries across the post-Soviet space.”

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Gryzlov’s mentor, once described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.”

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