Mikhail S Gorbachev

Soviet fall and Arab Spring

Soviet fall and Arab Spring

Twenty years ago, tens of thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow, just as Egyptians, Tunisians and Syrians have this year — rejecting the old order, demanding freedom and democracy. That August, the Russian democrats prevailed because their will was greater than that of those who plotted the coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The dynamics of the Arab Spring are strikingly similar.

I was there that day, as the ABC News correspondent in our Moscow bureau. Mr. Gorbachev was vacationing on the Black Sea. It looked like August would be a quiet month — I even made time to shoot a feature in Leningrad about a Russian Elvis impersonator.

Everything changed...