Beginning on August 19, 1991 and ending a day later, eight top members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), Gennady Yanayev and the rest of the Gang of Eight retook power from the hands of Mikhail Gorbachev in similar events that ousted Nikita Khrushchev from power in the late 1960's. The coup, although quickly planned, became a success. After years and years of government reforms and
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Gennady Yanayev

pressure from some of the top Soviet politicians, Gorbachev finally broke. After taking threats from the hard-line communists, Gorbachev stepped down, realizing the country was on the brink of collapse. The reforms Gorbachev made were not panning out the way he wanted. Instead of helping the country's economy grow, it only quickened the demise of the Soviet Union. The communists did not blame Gorbachev; however, for the collapse. Instead they blamed Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov and his foreign policies. Yazov; however, did blame Gorbachev for the Soviet Union's demise and felt Gorbachev "was soft and did not want to make the hard decisions in (his years of Soviet General Secretary) to save the country he loves."

After, Gorbachev resigned being the General Secretary, Gennady Yanayev succeeded him. While protests spread like wildfire across the Soviet Union, Yanayev surprisingly stood calm. He appointed Gorbachev to become his Vice President, a move that kept the rising popularity of Boris Yelstin to suddenly stop. In Yanayev's first public address, he stated that: "...(he) wanted to return to the policies of the (1960's), which helped the Soviet economy grow and improved the living conditions." About a day after the address, Yanayev suspended the Brezhnev Doctrine, the same doctrine he blamed for the current economic collapse. He also suspended all building of new nuclear weapons and deconstructed up to 20% of the Soviet's nuclear arsenal. While Yanayev was seen as a reformer in this time, Soviet relations with the west diminished under his lead. Yanayev did not trust the west and neither did his top officials.

Although Yanayev did not trust the west, Gorbachev still visited the United States frequently but soon grew out of Yanayev's inner circle, similar to Vyacheslav Molotov split with Joseph Stalin. With the Warsaw Pact disbanding and the countries of eastern Europe emerging from the communist regimes that it previously had in place, political scientists in the west, as well as a few in the Soviet Union, wondered how a country was expected to avoid collapse with no allies. On November 12, 1991, Yanayev finally traveled outside of Moscow after months of work repairing the Soviet infrastructure, for a dubbed "world tour" and planned to meet with the leaders of Mongolia, India, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, and Venezuela, a move which left some American political pundits in suspicion. With Gennady Yanayev as General Secretary, the Cold War returned to a similar feel as in the Andropov era, all it needed was one little spark.

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