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When Russians hated development sans freedom...

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By Rajiv Shah
It was something that took place exactly two decades ago. Those were the three days that shook the world – and me as an ideologically-driven human being. Perhaps it may also hold relevance to all those who cherish independence and freedom. It was the last-ditch attempt by the authoritarian forces in the Soviet Union to cling to power. It was morning of August 19, 1991. News came that a coup had taken place. It was early in the morning, before 9.00 am. Then, I was representing semi-left Delhi-based daily Patriot in Moscow. The then Soviet chief, Mikhail Gorbachev, already under criticism from the Communist hardline sections for allowing "too much freedom", had been put under house arrest in his outhouse in Crimea. I filed my story starting with "A coup has taken place in the Soviet Union...", factually describing how Gennady Yanayev, then Soviet vice-president, had taken over as acting president backed by hardliner Communists, a section of the top mili…