The august coup and its impact is a difficult topic to discuss. We will never know for sure if it could have succeeded or if the provisional government could have lasted.

This is not meant to be an alternate history question, but rather a discussions about what you guys think on tge august coup. Could it have succeeded, and if it did how the world as a whole and the Soviet Union in particular look like, had socialism survived in the USSR?How would the 90s be, and what would happen in the 2000s? How would the USSR handle the digital revolution and how would it behave, once again beeing one of the few socialist countries on earth after 1989?

Yet, before discussing this, in my opinion extremely fascinating, topic there is some historical backround are a few important things to keep in mind:

First, most people actually wanted the Union to stay together. In march of 1991 a nationwide refferendum was held in the USSR, on wheater the various SSRs should become independent nation states or not. A majority of 77,85% voted for the preservation of the Union, with the turnout beeing 80% [1]. Yet at this point most people had allready lost faith in socialism, so its speculative what the people would do had the coup succeeded. The majority of deputies in the local supreme soviets supported independence for either ideological or opportunistic reasons, and because of this the USSR was eventually disbanded in OTL.

On wheater the provisional government could have lasted, there are multiple things to consider: First, many of the units involved in the coup remained loyal to the GKChP (parts of the 2nd Guards Motor Rifle Division and the whole 4th Guards Tank Division carried out the coup till the bitter end [2] [3]. The Speznas group A also remained loyal untill it became clear that they could only archieve their goal at a terrible human cost [4]. I sadly couldn't find data on the Speznas group V, though). Though not 100% accurate, these units give us a rough idea on how the whole red army would have reacted. Though, as mentioned before, most people had lost faith in socialism by that point, many supported the coup because they didn't want the country their grandfathers had died for in the great patriotic war to fall appart.

On the Baltic states, the local authorities only decleared independence during the coup (except for Lithuania, but their declaration in march 11th wasn't recognized by Moscow untill after the coup). The command of the soviet forces in the Baltic states supported the GKChP [5], and therefore, if the coup had really succeeded, they would very likely have stayed part of the Union.

When it comes to the specific actions the GKChP could have taken, to increase the coups chances of success, well there are a few: I'm not a supporter of the "great man theory", yet Yeltsin was a very important symbol to anti-coup forces in OTL. His personality, his speeches and actions inspired many to take action against the GKChPs forces. Had the coupers managed to eliminate him (one way or another) that would have helped massively. Gorbatchev was another problem: As acting head of state and the party he still enjoyed a lot of popularity. The official reason for the coup was, that Gorbatchev had fallen ill, and that a provisional government had to be created in order to maintain public order. In my opinion the greatest mistake the coupers made, was to not take care of Gorbatchev. During the coup Gorbatchev was in the Crimea. Even if the GKChP had succeeded to keep control for a few more days than in OTL, he would have eventually returned to Moscow and showed everybody that he was "fine". With that, the official justification for the coup would have fallen appart. Yet if Gorbatchev had "tragicly succumbed to his illness", that could have secured the GKChPs control for more than a few additional days.

Finally, on wheater or not socialism could have been preserved in the Soviet Union in the long run: Thats a difficult question. And I would say yes, of course it could have worked. The new government could point out the obvious failures of Perestroika and Glasnost, such as the massive economic downturn that occured during the Gorbatchev era [5] [6] [7], and the rise of nationalist agitators. An with a mixture of patriotism and propaganda (or pollitical education, depending on which side you are on) they could win the people over to socialism again. It could have gone different, too, of course. But I don't think a soviet civil war is likely at all. Most people accross the Union, for or against the coup, didn't have weapons to fight one another. Yes, there would be protests, there would be riots, but anything more serious is unlikely. If the military stays loyal to the provisional government in the first couple of months, socialism in the USSR has a good chance. As time goes on, things return to normal. The "Congress of Peoples Deputies" is abolished and the "Supreme Soviet" once again becomes the highest legislative organ. The autonomy the republics gained suring the Gorbatchev era is reversed and everything kinda "goes back to normal".

Sources:

[1]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_Union_referendum

[2]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Guards_Motor_Rifle_Division

[3]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/4th_Guards_Tank_Division

[4]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_Group

[5]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perestroika

[6]https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_Soviet_Union

[7] IMF (1993, 1998)
 
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It's fraying at the edges - the Caucasus and the Baltics. In the medium term this can only be dealt with by murderous repression.
 
I know you want alternate history, but there's something I'm quite intrigued by...

When the coup happened, Hurricane Bob was striking southern Maine, where I lived at the time. The house lost power and had a tree dropped on it, and my family and I had to leave for a day or two. So we had no idea this was happening. It's just struck me that if things really went south or otherwise were problematic we wouldn't have had the slightest idea.
 
I know you want alternate history, but there's something I'm quite intrigued by...

When the coup happened, Hurricane Bob was striking southern Maine, where I lived at the time. The house lost power and had a tree dropped on it, and my family and I had to leave for a day or two. So we had no idea this was happening. It's just struck me that if things really went south or otherwise were problematic we wouldn't have had the slightest idea.
that'd be weird, oh hi btw the soviets are tearing themselves apart.
 
I know you want alternate history, but there's something I'm quite intrigued by...

When the coup happened, Hurricane Bob was striking southern Maine, where I lived at the time. The house lost power and had a tree dropped on it, and my family and I had to leave for a day or two. So we had no idea this was happening. It's just struck me that if things really went south or otherwise were problematic we wouldn't have had the slightest idea.

I was working at my former uni, and had a cube radio thing that woke me up (allegedly) by turning the radio on. The day the coup happened I was sleeping so soundly that I mixed my dreams with the news, and thought this was all just dreams until the evening at my girlfriend's house when I was shocked to discover that some salient elements of what I thought my dream had actually been true, and worked out what had happened
 
that'd be weird, oh hi btw the soviets are tearing themselves apart.
Well, I was six at the time. I was four when the Berlin Wall came down, and was vaguely aware something BIG was happening.

My parents never had a "plan" for how to deal with it going hot (IE, telling my younger sister and I) outside of hoping that either whatever hit Portland was too small... or big enough. My father was fond of saying he would realize he could die at any minute, then he'd go back to whatever he was doing. Mom refused to consider the idea because she didn't think it would happen, and that was that for her.
 
First, most people actually wanted the Union to stay together. In march of 1991 a nationwide refferendum was held in the USSR, on wheater the various SSRs should become independent nation states or not. A majority of 77,85% voted for the preservation of the Union, with the turnout beeing 80% [1].

It should be noted that the referendum was about Gorbachev's reform program, not so much about the continuous existence of the USSR. We know that what happened afterwards so we think the referendum in that context but that wasn't what most people voting at the time thought it was about. In many republics it was actually seen as a move towards greater sovereignty and this was made even explicit in ballot papers in some SSRs. In Ukraine you had for example ""Do you agree that Ukraine should be part of a Union of Soviet sovereign states on the basis on the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine?", referring to a document which had declared that Ukraine had right to establish its own armed forces, foreign relations and central bank among many other things. Thus a person voting "Yes" in the Union-wide referendum essentially was also giving their support for their SSR to seek a greater level of autonomy.
 
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While it is definitely possible for a successful new junta to roll back and block further market reforms, then the likely medium-term outcome of this is a Soviet Union that looks a lot like a bigger version of North Korea in terms of poverty, food and electricity. Blocking local autonomy will only increase the negative effects of central planning. In order to manage the increased unrest from this, further repression will be required and down that rabbit hole we go.

While it is too late to reverse the Sinatra doctrine by august 1991, then globally a hardline Soviet Union in economic freefall will mean a harder economic hit on Soviet trading partners in the early 90's, e.g. Eastern Europe will have to kiss cheap gas and oil goodbye earlier.
 
there is no clean victory for a coup d'etat this is The second Russian Civil War. Major fighting in the Ukraine and the Baltic states you probably have mujahideen flooding into muslim-majority areas in Central Asia 1992 presidential election probably goes to Bush Senior I don't think Clinton would even be the Democratic nominee in this world a nuclear State going into Civil War will they use nuclear weapons against their own people.
 
An baltic resistance or war should be started and this turns to be a continental conflict,Czech,Hungarian and Polish should be make an allience with FGR and started to invade East side of the Germany.
 
An baltic resistance or war should be started and this turns to be a continental conflict,Czech,Hungarian and Polish should be make an allience with FGR and started to invade East side of the Germany.

Hey, please don't get me wrong, I don't want to be rude, but I think you misunderstood something.

Three points:

1. "A war should be started". What? Who against whom? And should there really have been a war? I definetly don't think so.

2. What do the czechs, poles and hungarians have to do with the FRG?

3. The Warsaw Pact had allready been dissolved by august 1991. East Germany had allready ceased to exist allmost year prior.
 
you probably have mujahideen flooding into muslim-majority areas in Central Asia
Why? How?

OTL the Central Asian Republics had quite little in the way of secessionist dissidence, nor was organizing around Islam a major thing there. Even on the ropes, presumably a coup-maintained hardline Soviet government largely maintains tight control of the borders--if anything they are going to crack down and tighten it up, offset by the possibility some border guards and military units backing them up might be disloyal or corrupt--but if that was going to be a problem, it is hard to see how the infamously tight control they managed all through the Stalinist era and beyond could have been kept.

So, mujahideen can't get in, and no one in the 'Stans is particularly interested in sheltering them or listening to them if they could teleport across on stealth magic carpets anyway, so no indigenous mujahideen either.

I think there will be trouble in the Baltics for sure, possible civil war in Ukraine and Georgia, maybe Armenia...but not in Soviet Central Asia!
 
you probably have mujahideen flooding into muslim-majority areas in Central Asia

Honestly, suggesting مجاهدين‎ (Mujahideen) flooding into the 'stans is a bit little like suggesting Việt Cộng flooding into California. Not impossible, but requiring some pretty wild PODs.
 
Honestly, suggesting مجاهدين‎ (Mujahideen) flooding into the 'stans is a bit little like suggesting Việt Cộng flooding into California. Not impossible, but requiring some pretty wild PODs.
Afghanistan is right next door Islam has been the dominant religion in Central Asia for nearly 1,300 years tell me why wouldn't these countries not try to break off the shackles of a atheist state that has descended into Civil War you're kind of going for the same mindset that people had before the Islamic revolution in Iran. I think it is highly probable that these nations rise up in Islamic revolution.
 
While it is definitely possible for a successful new junta to roll back and block further market reforms, then the likely medium-term outcome of this is a Soviet Union that looks a lot like a bigger version of North Korea in terms of poverty, food and electricity. Blocking local autonomy will only increase the negative effects of central planning. In order to manage the increased unrest from this, further repression will be required and down that rabbit hole we go.

While it is too late to reverse the Sinatra doctrine by august 1991, then globally a hardline Soviet Union in economic freefall will mean a harder economic hit on Soviet trading partners in the early 90's, e.g. Eastern Europe will have to kiss cheap gas and oil goodbye earlier.
Would it? Russia suffered a massive economic collapse in the 1990s and part of its recovery post 2000s was due the rise of oil prices, which aren't affected by Russia's domestic economy. If a continued communist economy avoids the fall of the 1990s (or at least, doesn't suffer as much) and then benefits from increased oil prices, how would such a country be in a worse shape than OTL Russia?
 
tell me why wouldn't these countries not try to break off the shackles of a atheist state that has descended into Civil War you're kind of going for the same mindset that people had before the Islamic revolution in Iran.
Because, despite the proximity of Soviet Central Asia to both revolutionary Iran (Shi'ite, I don't think many of the traditional Muslims north of the former kingdom of Persia went Shi'ite so that could explain lack of resonance) and Afghanistan (definitely Sunni, and with a direct and violent conflict between pro-Soviet secularists and a resisting majority radicalized into Islamism) since the late '70s, with the Red Army including lots of Central Asian conscripts sent in to fight their possible co-religionists and brutally so too, no such movement actually emerged to speak of in the entire decade of the 1980s. If such movements did exist, I would acknowledge them and grant that this or that national republic, or all of them perhaps, were so much dry tinder a weakening of the central order would see burst in flame perhaps.

But this was not the case, and all your premises are mistaken. They did not in fact have the same mindset as the faction of Khomenist and other Islamacist factions in Iran (by no means the complete list of all anti-Shah revolutionaries either, quite a lot of Iranian revolutionaries were secular, socialist or Communist (Tudeh).

Soviet Central Asia was just quiet, not radicalizing in any way, not rocking the boat with any sort of secessionism.

Thus, if the Soviet system glitched across the board, it would do so least in Central Asia (unless it was some kind of stronghold of either Gorbachev or Yeltsin--neither was the case I believe). To my knowledge the coup plotters had no special association to central Asia, and so the conflict would be news from Moscow to authorities there, none of whom would be consulted, many of whom might be in chain of command of coup figures who would simply order their subordinates to stand by and keep the peace awaiting further orders. There's no one to stir up a rousing cry for opposing the coup, so I presume the apparatchiks just stand fast and procrastinate, waiting for the matter to settle one way or another.

So--no disruption in Central Asia, no relaxing of border vigilance, no mass discontent for jihadis to inflame and guide, no particular welcome or refuge for them. With the presumption here in this TL the coup gets control quickly, it is business as usual in Central Asia, and the same lack of dogs barking in the night holding in the 1980s holds into the 1990s.

It could change. Suppose the rather racist Russian sentiment that the 'Stans were costly were gratified by cutting subsidies and benefits the regime propped up their agents with in the region, while maintaining an oppressive occupation; the regime could become unpopular, whereas I believe the Red Army had already withdrawn from Afghanistan and the example of success against Soviet rule might become more and more appealing to many.

But you aren't talking about a change, you seem to be just mindlessly assuming all Muslims are alike or something like that, much as Tom Clancy did in Red Storm Rising.
 

RousseauX

Donor
First, most people actually wanted the Union to stay together. In march of 1991 a nationwide refferendum was held in the USSR, on wheater the various SSRs should become independent nation states or not. A majority of 77,85% voted for the preservation of the Union, with the turnout beeing 80% [1]. Yet at this point most people had allready lost faith in socialism, so its speculative what the people would do had the coup succeeded. The majority of deputies in the local supreme soviets supported independence for either ideological or opportunistic reasons, and because of this the USSR was eventually disbanded in OTL.
The new Union Treaty referendum was about choosing whether to dissolve the Union, or to turn it into a Conederation. Not whether to preserve the USSR of 1985, or even 1989.

Ironically, the USSR could have existed as a confederation -without- the coup.
 
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RousseauX

Donor
Afghanistan is right next door Islam has been the dominant religion in Central Asia for nearly 1,300 years tell me why wouldn't these countries not try to break off the shackles of a atheist state that has descended into Civil War you're kind of going for the same mindset that people had before the Islamic revolution in Iran. I think it is highly probable that these nations rise up in Islamic revolution.
Central Asia is pretty secuarlized, and after the USSR collapased, none of them ended up Islamic theoracracies and pretty much all of them ended up authoratarian regimes governed by ex-communists. In 1991, the central asian republics were the biggest supporters of the USSR, with 90%+ of their populations voting to remain in the USSR in foreign observed elections, which is much more than Ukraine or Russia Republics. There's a pretty big difference between Iran, Afghanistan an the ex-SSRs in central asia.
 
Central Asia is pretty secuarlized, and after the USSR collapased, none of them ended up Islamic theoracracies and pretty much all of them ended up authoratarian regimes governed by ex-communists. In 1991, the central asian republics were the biggest supporters of the USSR, with 90%+ of their populations voting to remain in the USSR in foreign observed elections, which is much more than Ukraine or Russia Republics. There's a pretty big difference between Iran, Afghanistan an the ex-SSRs in central asia.
do you think this would remain the case after hardliners took over the government and started brutally cracking down on Democratic forces. Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic and Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic jump ship the month that the coup happen Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic had a referendum right after the coup 94 percent in favor of independence. Kazakhstan was the last one to do it but it still left because of the coup. you might have pro-soviet forces within these countries but do you honestly think Islamic extremist won't try to take advantage of the situation.
 

RousseauX

Donor
do you think this would remain the case after hardliners took over the government and started brutally cracking down on Democratic forces. Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic and Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic jump ship the month that the coup happen Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic had a referendum right after the coup 94 percent in favor of independence. Kazakhstan was the last one to do it but it still left because of the coup. you might have pro-soviet forces within these countries
Kazakstan left because it had to, since Yeltsin was dissolving the USSR. There was no union to remain in. The remaining Republics might have wanted independence after the coup, but the 90%+ vote to remain in the USSR shows it is hardly some hotbed of Islamism exploding with resentment over how atheist or not the government is.

During the Bezhova accords Yelstin initially wanted to invovle the Kazahk First secretary, but decided against it since he figured he might rat Yeltsin out to Gorbachev.

but do you honestly think Islamic extremist won't try to take advantage of the situation.
Sure, but they aren't strong enough in Soviet Central Asia to even be a major faction. Let along seize control of the state. The one place where they did have a precense, in Tajikistan, they were a minor faction in a coalition of anti-government forces, and ended up making peace with the government.
 
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