Some 30 years ago last month, a group of communist hardliners seized control of Moscow and placed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev under house arrest at his holiday home in Crimea.

They opposed Gorbachev’s economic and political reforms — perestroika and glasnost — and sought to topple his government. Within three days, however, the coup imploded. By the end of that year, so had the Soviet Union.

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