The Union Crisis, as it is now known, was a political dispute within the Soviet Union that fully erupted in 1991. The three dominant factions within the Soviet political establishment were competing to determine the future direction of the Union. Slowly falling behind their primary rivals, the United States and Japan, and with rising powers, China, India, and Africa, catching up, many in the Soviet leadership decided that some sort of reform was needed. The Hardliners were determined to maintain the status quo. The Reformers, led by President Mikhail Gorbachev, attempted to implement rapid political and economic in order to further their political and economic goals. Meanwhile, the Liberals sought to implement far-reaching economic reforms, while maintaining totalitarian political control. The crisis ended after the Hardliners' failed August Putsch was suppressed by the Reformers and Liberals and the Liberals, then in turn, suppressed the Reformers, thus establishing the new course of the Union.