25th anniversary of Soviet coup met with hostility, indifference in Russia

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_RUS140804AA001.jpegMOSCOW — Russian pro-democracy activists gathered this weekend in central Moscow to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the defeat of a coup attempt by communist hard-liners enraged at Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms. But the anniversary of the failed coup, and the tribute to the three young protesters who died preventing it, was met by hostility from the authorities and widespread indifference — or even ignorance — by ordinary Russians.

“We are gathered here today to remember those who died defending democracy 25 years ago,” Lev Ponomaryov, a Soviet-era dissident and human rights activist, told a crowd of several hundred people Saturday evening as riot police looked on. “These young men died for our hopes.”

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