I remember well waking up in the small hours of the 19th August 1991. It was a school day, and I could hear my parents talking outside the bathroom as Dad was about to get ready for work in London.He usually listened to the BBC World Service as he started to get ready and the news that shocked him and Mum was that there was a coup in the USSR and Gorbachev was under house arrest. This was going to have a severe effect on the Markets and it was the fear in the back of our minds and those who were into politics who wanted to see the end of communist domination in Russia. That those who were against reforms would rear their heads and take over, after all it happened to Khrushchev over less.
At the time I was doing my GCSEs and one of the options I had taken was History. At around that time or shortly before we had been looking at the Russian civil War and I feared that the same could happen again. When the end did come, when the Coup Plotters realised they had no support, it was not only swift and brutal for them but also for the Soviet Union. To everyone's joy and amazement the USSR was over and Russia was going to be a multi-party republic. What was beginning in 1917 and was cruelly extinguished by the October Revolution that year, had resumed.
So what now, twenty years on? Well Communism is still no longer a dominant force, the free market economy still reigns in Russia, bit there is organised crime which has had it's tentacles in Russian society for years and there are still pains around the birth of Democracy
in Russia. The irony is that Gorbachev, with his political commitments today, seems more of a
Democratic alternative to Putin. The last Secretary General of the USSR vs the elected Prime Minister of Russia