Ways to Seize Power: A Brief Review

Ways to Seize Power: A Brief Review

How many ways can a leader or a regime wrest control from a government or a people? Following are three examples from history.


The Kremlin

Coup, short for Coup d’état, is “the sudden, violent overthrow of an existing government by a small group. The chief prerequisite for a coup is control of all or part of the armed forces, the police, and other military elements.” 1

This is what happened—or, at least, was attempted—in August of 1991 when a group of political hardliners moved to overthrow the Soviet government. Their aim was to bring back the communism of old; in effect, to make the U.S.S.R. great again.

The coup failed and unwittingly precipitated the fall of the entire Soviet Union.


What do you call it when a leader that the people do not want—a leader with reactionary aspirations, who, too, wants to make his country “great” again—is installed in the highest office of the land by an election influenced, if not fixed, by an external entity?

And what, looking back in time, is the likely result?


What is it called when an empire installs itself into a region in chaos after a war of the most extreme brutality, where divergent nationalistic aims and cultural aspirations combine with recently inflamed bigotry and rampant trauma?

After he emerged from hiding, my Great Uncle Steve (Stefan) found that his hometown of Svalava was no longer located in his country, and more, his country was no longer his own.

According to his immigration card, he was “stateless.” He had no nation.

The Soviets had “liberated” the region from the Nazis and then, later, claimed it as their own.


Who ultimately won, successfully and permanently consolidating power and control? To find out, start again at the top of this blog post. Repeat until the answer reveals itself.

1 Encyclopedia Britannica, “Coup d’état.” https://www.britannica.com/topic/coup-detat (accessed 6/20/2017)

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My Great Uncle Stefan
My Great Uncle Stefan