It was August 19, 1991, and tanks were in the streets of Moscow. Soviet hardliners were trying to stage a coup against then-president Mikhail Gorbachev. But if you turned on the television in the Soviet capital, you wouldn't see any of that. You'd see – ballet. Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, to be precise. On repeat. It wasn't the first time.
What Swan Lake meant – and came to mean – to Russians living under Soviet rule.
Looping Swans is a Falling Tree production made by Charles Maynes and Cicely Fell for BBC Radio 4.
Photo: Alan Charleston