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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Muted Celebrations Set To Mark Putsch Defeat

Three years ago they faced down Communist tanks and defeated the August 1991 hardline coup attempt, but as they unveiled plans for anniversary events scheduled to run Friday through Sunday, the "defenders of the White House" did not sound much like victors.

The symbolism of the building that anti-communist demonstrators in 1991 ringed with a human barricade has been co-opted by hardline parliamentarians who holed up there during last October's power struggle until President Boris Yeltsin blasted them out with tanks.

And last Thursday, Russia's military supreme court cleared Valentin Varennikov, the only one of the alleged 1991 coup conspirators to stand trial, saying there was no evidence of any criminal attempt.

At a press conference Tuesday by Vivat Russia, the group running the anniversary events, Konstantin Truyevtsev, who helped organize the 1991 White House defense, called the verdict "direct slander" of the three protesters killed by tanks in the 1991 resistance, saying it implied they instigated the violence.

Vivat's weekend of events begins Friday with a meeting and a screening of documentary films at 7 P.M. in the square behind the White House -- the organizing center of the 1991 resistance.

A memorial meeting will take place Saturday at 9 P.M. on Konyushovskaya Ulitsa, between the White House and the former State Duma skyscraper.

Members of the Union of MMM Shareholders, formed by people who lost money in the collapse of Russia's largest pyramid scheme, may get a turn at the podium, Truyevtsev said. Vivat does not necessarily endorse the company, he said, but believes the government should have informed "disadvantaged" investors "that this is gambling."

There will be a procession at 10:30 P.M. to the intersection of Novy Arbat and the Garden Ring, where the three protestors died. Wreaths will be laid Sunday on their graves in Vagankovsoye Cemetery from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

On Aug. 22, the day the putsch failed, a concert will take place on Red Square.