August 22 is National Flag Day in Russia. It was officially established in 1994, but it commemorates the spoiling of the soviet attempted coup in 1991.
On August 19, hard line soviet leaders forcibly detained General Secretary Mikhail and declared martial law in Moscow. On August 20, troops were brought in to attack the White House. (The Russian seat of government is also called the White House.)
On August 21 soviet tanks were repelled by the populous of Moscow who blocked major thoroughfares with trolley cars and street cleaners. Although three civilians were killed, there were surprisingly few casualties, especially in light of the massacres with which resistance is often met. The prevailing thought is that the soviet army refused to fire on their own people.
The next day, August 22, President Boris Yeltsin reinstated the tri-colored imperial banner, which had been adopted in 1696 and used continuously until 1917, as the Russian national flag.
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