On August 19, 1991, and for a period lasting approximately seventy-two hours, the government of the Soviet Union was overthrown. The Soviet Union, at the time one of the world’s two superpowers, experienced a coup d’etat by hard-line leaders of that nation. The Soviet Union had survived coups d’etat in the past, often resulting in a change of leadership from one communist regime to yet another. However, to the people on the streets, all that really changed was that the names of the leaders; the government remained much the same as before the putsch. On this date, however, not only did the coup d’etat fail, but its failure brought to international recognition a previously unknown Russian leader, Boris Yeltsin, who then inherited the mantle of power as the Soviet Union collapsed upon itself soon after the coup d’etat was overcome.