Masha Lipman Talks to David Remnick About a Coup in the U.S.S.R.

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In the late summer of 1991, when hard-line members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union detained Mikhail Gorbachev and sent tanks into the center of Moscow, it seemed that an era of economic and political reforms in Russia might come to an end. Instead, the coup collapsed in three days and the U.S.S.R. dissolved by December. David Remnick, who covered Russia for the Washington Post, remembers the coup as utter chaos—the conspirators were disorganized, ineffective, and often drunk. Twenty-five years later, he speaks with his translator and colleague at the time, Masha Lipman, about life during those turbulent days and the consequences of the coup, which paved the way for Vladimir Putin.