The Soviet Army in Civil Disturbances, 1988–1991

  • Stephen Blank


Under tsarism and Soviet rule, Russia’s rulers have long employed the armed forces to quell domestic insurgency and unrest. The Russian army was and remains very ambivalent about internal security operations, however. In 1905 the army almost broke down and in 1917 and 1991 actually did break down under the prospect of such activity. Foreign observers who analyzed the Soviet collapse therefore celebrated the armed forces’ divided loyalties and especially their politicization that precluded their use against the Soviet people during the KGB- and army-launched coup of August 1991 against Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms.


Security Council General Staff Presidential Council Civil Disturbance Soviet Force 
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Copyright information

© Robin Higham and Frederick W. Kagan 2002

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  • Stephen Blank

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