Thirty years ago this month, the Cold War ended with a failed coup in Moscow. As was remarked by many at the time, Marx's dictum that history repeats itself as farce proved true for the Soviet Union, the state that had defined itself by his ideology.
In August 1991, while the USSR's reforming General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev holidayed in his Ukrainian dacha, a group of hard-liners seized power. Gorbachev, under house arrest, turned to the BBC to find out what was going on, since in the Soviet Union nothing the media said was true unless the party said so. He learned that, in the centre of Moscow, Russian Federation president Boris Yeltsin courageously stood in front of the city's White House in defiance of the plotters, surrounded by supporters brandishing the old Russian flag.