On 19th August 1991, Mayor Anatoly Sobchak came to the attention of a relieved world as the leader who ensured that federal tanks would not rumble through the streets of his city, Leningrad, nor turn their turrets on its citizens. His defiance and conviction in dissuading the Red Army generals inspired those around him to resist - in St Petersburg and throughout Russia the coup floundered on the people's reluctance to relinquish their new-found freedom. In this book, the author recalls how the coup was foiled as well as the birth of freedoms protected so staunchly. The book also surveys key events of the last three years which changed the political complexion of Russia and the Soviet Union forever - the first democratic elections, Andrei Sakharov's crucial role in cultivating dissent, and his tragic rejection of corruption which almost broke the spine of the Byzantine CPSU. The author also examines the perils and opportunities that lie ahead for a state in the process of reinventing itself.
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