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"Gorbachev Factor"

On 12 June 1991 Yeltsin scored a resounding victory in Russias first presidential elections. He garnered over 57 percent of the votes, with his four Communist rivals receiving together just over 30 percent. The surge of anti-Communist sentiments was also revealed during the referendum in Leningrad, conducted at the same time as the presidential elections, on the issue of the citys name. The majority of the population no longer desired the city to be named for the founder of the Communist Party and voted in favor of the original name, St. Petersburg.  

In July 1991 Yeltsin, now the newly elected president of Russia, decreed that the Communist Party of Russia, the sister party of the CPSU and the largest republican Communist party, must wind down its cells in state organizations and factories. By then the CPSU had already been voted out of government in several of the constituent republics.

The Soviet Union had finally reached the point of no return when an unsuccessful coup in August organized by the conservative elements in the Politburo, military, government, and KGB was defeated. That fiasco led to the winding down of the CPSUs central bodies and the complete separation of the state and communism. After the coup of August 1991 and the consequent arrests of the top officials of the all-union state, as well as the ban on the Communist Party in the territory of Russia, the USSRs political system was extinct.

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