By universal suffrage, Yeltsin elected president of Russian Republic. Last Soviet troops leave Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Gorbachev and leaders of seven Soviet republics sign draft union treaty.
Hard-line officials attempt to unseat Gorbachev government. Coup fails after three days, elevating Yeltsin's prestige. Ukraine, Belorussia, Moldavia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyz Republic declare independence. Armenia and Tajikistan follow in September, Turkmenistan in October, and Kazakstan in December.
Presidents of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia meet in Minsk and proclaim initial Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Yeltsin meets with Soviet defense officials and army commanders to gain support for CIS. Russian foreign minister Andrey Kozyrev asks United States secretary of state James Baker to recognize independence of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Gorbachev announces that at year's end all central government structures will cease to exist. Eleven republics form CIS. Soviet Union ceases to exist. Russian flag rises over Kremlin. Control of nuclear arsenal handed over to Yeltsin.