(1991) ‘August Coup’ puts Soviet President Gorbachev under arrest Communist hardliners, unhappy with President Mikhail Gorbachev’s policies, attempt to take over the Soviet Union’s government. Tanks patrol Moscow, Gorbachev is placed under house arrest, and tens of thousands of citizens are out in the streets protesting against the coup.The 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt, also known as the August Coup, was an attempt by members of the Soviet Union’s government to take control of the country from Soviet President and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. The coup leaders were hard-line members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union who were opposed to Gorbachev’s reform program and the new union treaty that he had negotiated which decentralised much of the central government’s power to the republics. They were opposed, mainly in Moscow, by a short but effective campaign of civil resistance. Although the coup collapsed in only two days and Gorbachev returned to government, the event destabilised the Soviet Union and is widely considered to have contributed to both the demise of the CPSU and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.