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Failed Kremlin Coup
On August 21st, hardline Communists staged a coup attempt against the government of Gorbachev, putting him under house arrest. The coup, however, failed when Boris Yeltsin– the leader of the Russian Republic rallied supporters at the parliament building in Moscow. Thousands joined Yeltsin there, and many military leaders announced their support for Yeltsin. The coup ended when it became clear that the troops would not open fire on the citizens of Moscow. Gorbachev returned to power as President, in a much diminished capacity– true power having passed to Boris Yeltsin, who soon declared the Communist party illegal.