Bush and START II
Passage of the Missile Defense Act was undoubtedly helped by the unsuccessful coup against Gorbachev in August 1991. The coup was attempted by Politburo hard-liners who were particularly upset by Gorbachev's effort to preserve the Soviet Union by increasing the powers of the republics at the expense of the central government. The new union treaty would have reduced the power (if not eliminated the jobs) of the hard-liners. Shortly before the treaty was scheduled to be signed on August 20, the hard-liners took advantage of Gorbachev's absence from Moscow and attempted to overthrow him.
But the hard-liners underestimated the extent of popular support for democracy and popular antipathy toward communism. They also failed to get the military support they needed to overthrow Russian president Boris Yeltsin, who rallied the democratic forces against them. As a result, the coup quickly collapsed and on August 21 Yeltsin reported that its leaders were under arrest. The next day, a fatigued and disheveled Gorbachev returned to Moscow and declared that he was in full control of the government. Yeltsin, however, did not wait for him to regain his balance. On August 21 he labeled the Communist Party the organizing and inspiring force behind the coup, suspended its activities in Russia, and seized its property. In other republics,