The Russian Revolution

An abyss opened for a moment, and black bats flew out. They filled the air with old nightmares, throwbacks to a style of history that the world had been forgetting. The Soviet Union was seized by a sinister anachronism: its dying self. Men with faces the color of a sidewalk talked about a "state of emergency." They rolled in tanks and told stolid lies. The world imagined another totalitarian dusk, cold war again, and probably Soviet civil war as well. If Gorbachev was under arrest, who had possession of the nuclear codes?

Three days: then the bats of history abruptly turned,...

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