USSR Presiding over a new Soviet Congress, Gorbachev gets a clamorous lesson in democracy

"All of us today are just learning democracy. We are only now forming a political culture."

-- Mikhail Gorbachev at the Congress of People's Deputies

From the opening moment, when the spotlights flicked on to illuminate a towering statue of Lenin, it was clear that the days of fully scripted, party- orchestrated politics had -- at least for a moment -- come to an end. Assembled in the Kremlin's Palace of Congresses were the delegates to the Soviet Union's brand-new Congress of People's Deputies, a forum where doctrine could be questioned, where the unexpected could happen, and where the unmentionable could...

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