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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Marlin Bates

First Committee Member

Jon F. Schamber

Second Committee Member

Teresa Bergman


On August 19, 1991, government hard-liners overthrew the Soviet Union for a period of 72 hours. Boris Yeltsin, the President of Russia, staged a protest on the steps of the Russian White House, where he gave speeches against the coup d'etat, releasing these speeches for dissemination between the hard-liners and the masses gathered to support Yeltsin. Yeltsin 's protest created a constituted identity amongst the people gathered who became part of the protest against the government. This created a confrontation between the two publics, where the state message developed a narrative involving a glorified past to which they wished to return, while the counter-public created a counter-narrative that argued a future of continued reforms would benefit the people of Russia and the Soviet Union. In the end, the counter-narrative achieved stronger approval from the masses, essentially replacing the state's narrative with its own. As a result, the hard-liners lost their grab for power, and Yeltsin emerged the winner in an ideological struggle for the future of the Russia and the Soviet Union.



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