Soviet Union 48 Hours of Chaos

Visiting Tadzhikistan, a TIME correspondent witnesses Gorbachev's worst fear: an Islam-tinged revolution

How much more ethnic violence can the Soviet Union endure? A month after anti-Armenian pogroms in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku and a brutal clampdown by the Soviet army, Kremlin control seemed to hang by a thread last week in yet another Soviet republic. This time rioting and looting, followed by direct intervention by the Soviet army, took place in Dushanbe, capital of Tadzhikistan, a little-known republic (pop. 5.1 million) tucked into a mountainous fold of Central Asia between Afghanistan and China.

The Tadzhiks, who share cultural and ethnic origins with the Iranians, are staging what has the potential to become...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!