- The White House was main witness to two of the defining moments of post-Soviet history. The first was the August coup of 1991, when Gorbachev was ousted by hardliners and a Yeltsin-led democratic alliance took the White House as their rallying point. Muscovites formed a human shield round the building in full expectation of a militarized clampdown that was never to materialize. The coup and the Soviet Union with it collapsed in disarray. In 1993, the White House once again played host to political drama. Yeltsin shelled the leaders of Russia's parliament into submission when they refused his order of dissolution.
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