Today in History, Aug. 19

Itar-TassPresident of the RSFSR Boris Yeltsin speaking near the building of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR.

A group of communist hardliners staged a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms 22 years ago today on Aug. 19, 1991. The coup collapsed when troops defected, though not before Boris Yeltsin — who had recently been elected the President — made a memorable speech in defense of the parliament, standing atop a tank in front of the parliament building.