In 1989, the countries of Eastern Europe began to slip from the Soviet grasp; after the failed Communist coup attempt of August 1991, republic after republic proclaimed independence from the USSR. Between 1991 and 1997, Russia developed democratic institutions, including a bicameral parliament (the Federation Council and the Duma). Boris Yeltsin was elected twice to the presidency; legislative elections were held four times; and major economic reforms were undertaken.
When communism was finally collapsing in August 1991 Soviet tanks surrounded the Moscow White House in a last desperate putsch. But they were scolded by old women. Mothers and babushkas became an alternative chain of command for the young soldiers.