On August 19, 1991, Communist hardliners in Moscow, angry with their loss of Eastern Europe, seized control of the Soviet government while Mikhail Gorbachev was in the Crimea. Boris Yeltsin and the Russian parliament were trapped in the parliament building as thousands of brave citizens gathered outside, forming a human barricade. Tanks and troops ringed the building, and the world held its breath.
Here’s what the newspapers didn’t report. According to Barbara Von Der Heydt in her book Candles Behind the Wall, when news of the coup broke, Iven Kharlanov and Anatoly Rudenko of the Bible Society in Moscow discussed how to persuade the troops not to fire on protesters. They called Bible societies around the world asking prayer, then plotted a bold scheme.