Soviet Union Knell of the Union?

In concert with republic leaders, Gorbachev erects a shaky new central structure and emerges as the Great Coordinator

After four days of pitching their hastily improvised vision of a loosely knit union of sovereign states to wary Soviet legislators, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin tried to sell an equally skeptical audience on the viability of their new enterprise. In an extraordinary live broadcast orchestrated by ABC television that linked U.S. viewers with the Kremlin's St. George's Hall, the Soviet and Russian presidents sought to allay American fears that there would be any backsliding toward communism.

"I think this experiment that was conducted on our soil was a tragedy for our people," said Yeltsin.

"That model has failed," concurred Gorbachev....

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