You are hereHIS-Bonnell-1994


Doc Type: 
Historical Study
Bonnell, V., Cooper, A. and Freidin, G. (eds)
Full Title: 
Russia at the Barricades: Eyewitness Accounts of the 1991 Coup
Language Type: 
M.E. Sharpe, Inc
Pub City: 
New York

Summary by Dana Leigh Geraghty, Harriman Institute, Columbia University

               “Russia at the Barricades” is a collection of firsthand accounts and analyses of the coup events by both native Russians and foreigners present during the events in August 1991. The accounts focus on the events in Moscow, Leningrad, and Dushanbe. This book provides a well-rounded account of varying perspectives on the coup events. Most of the accounts focus on the acts of civil disobedience, the building of barricades, and the efforts of citizens to oppose the coup plotters and convert the military to the side of the RSFSR leadership in Moscow.

               Unlike many of the other books and collections on the August coup events, this book attempts to present the events from many different perspectives in order to gain a full understanding of the events. The first part of the book focuses on the perspective of the putschists. It includes their declarations to the people, the transcript of the television interview in which Yanayev’s hands were famously trembling, and the records of the investigations of the main coup plotters. The second part of the book focuses on personal impressions of the coup given by both Russians and Americans based on observations and participation in events during the coup. The third part of the book focuses on the centers of power in the opposition to the coup, documenting how the most powerful men in the USSR responded to the coup. This part includes Gorbachev’s “The August Coup”, and appeals and decrees issued by Yeltsin, Silyaev, and Khasbulatov. This collection on the coup differs from others by including reports and interviews from other leading political figures in Moscow, Leningrad, and Dushanbe. The fourth part of the book focuses on the event itself, the defense of the White House, including accounts of the activities that occurred both inside and outside the White House. The final part of the book focuses on the critically important role of the mass media in opposing the coup. This part includes reports from both the Russian press and the foreign press.