Coup in Russia - an attempt is made to oust Soviet President Gorbachev by a hardline 'Gang of Eight'.

A 'Today Tonight' special with Brian Farrell and Sean O'Rourke on an attempted coup in Russia.

On 19 August 1991 a group from within the Soviet Union's government attempted to take control of the country from President Mikhail Gorbachev.  They were members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and opposed Gorbachev's ambitious program of reform and the new treaty that decentralised power from Moscow to the Republics. The coup collapsed after two days and Gorbachev was returned to government.

Sean O'Rourke speaks by phone to Helen Womack, Soviet Correspondent, 'London Independent' Newspaper. Womack explains that despite the dramatic coup things were "surprisingly calm" and she talks about the activity around the Russian parliament.

The leaders of the Coup were known as the State Committee on the State of Emergency or the 'Gang of Eight'. The group was led by Gennady Yanayev and consisted of Valentin Pavlov, Boris Pugo, Dmitry Yazov, Vladimir Kryuchkov, Oleg Baklanov, Vasily Starodubtsev, and Alexander Tizyakov.

Boris Yeltsin arrived at the White House, Russia's parliament building on 19 August and declared that a Coup D'état had taken place.

A 'Today Tonight' Special : Coup in Russia broadcast on 19 August 1991.