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What was the cause of the Russian Revolution in 1991?

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By summer 1991, the attempted economic and democratic reforms initiated by the Soviet president Gorbachev in 1985 and known as perestoika (rebuilding) and glasnost (openness) stalled amid economic chaos, social crisis and political turmoil. With Soviet Union on the brink of disintegration, and days before a planned signing of a New Union Treaty by some of the Soviet republics in august 2007, a group of Communist hardliners from the Gorbachev government attempted to seize power, oust Gorbachev, reverse the reforms and prevent the formal breakup of the Soviet Union.

Gorbachev was pronounced unfit for duties, state of emergency was declared and major cities were flooded with troops. The unexpectedly strong resistance by the pro-democracy forces in Moscow, a decisive stance by the populist president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin, and defections by some Army and police troops caused the hardliners to waver and abandon their plans. The leaders of the coup were arrested after three days, Yeltsin gained new power and popularity and outlawed the Communist party, Gorbachev's influence was diminished, and the USSR promptly disintegrated into many independent states, loosely united by economic and political ties. Of these newly independent states, Russia was by far the largest, and has since been synonymous with the former Soviet Union.

That said, the term "revolution" is rarely used relative to the events of 1991. The August events are referred to as the putsch or coup. The aftermath was seen as a boost to the pro-democracy and anti-Communist forces in Russia, but the long-term consequences for Russia were mixed and are still being argued about.
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