As tanks rolled in 1991, AP photographer sprang into action

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MOSCOW (AP) — On Aug. 19, 1991, a group of top Communist Party hard-liners declared they had removed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev from power and declared a state of emergency in the country. The coup raised global fears of a rollback of Gorbachev’s liberal reforms but collapsed in only three days as throngs rallied to defend democracy. Instead of preserving the Soviet Union, the botched putsch only precipitated its collapse. Alexander Zemlianichenko, chief photographer for The Associated Press in Moscow, was there to chronicle the tumult. The images that he and his AP colleagues made during the coup and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union won the 1992 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.

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