Before I assumed my new duties at Voice of America in August 1991, Diana and I took a brief vacation in her Wyoming homeland. While we were there, reactionary elements in Moscow tried to oust Mikhail Gorbachev, who was on his own vacation in Crimea. The putsch failed but during those tense days the Soviet leader had to rely on OVA’s Russian service to find out what was happening. As Dr. James Billington, a Russian history scholar and the librarian of Congress, noted in his 1992 book, Russia Transformed, “Gorbachev under house arrest in the Crimea got his news from the broadcasts that he once helped to jam.”
Dr. Billington’s Russia Transformed is out of print but still widely available as are his other books on Russia. For a more immediate sense of the crisis at the time, take a look at what the New York Times had to say and consider the Wikipedia entry.
Read more about my time in the 1988 Bush Administration and the VOA in Zenith.