The End Of the U.S.S.R.

Emboldened by their success in seizing independence, the republics have pronounced Mikhail Gorbachev's union dead and patched together a new, loosely knit commonwealth. But do they know how to build s

Revolutions are messy affairs that may go on for years with climax after climax before a stable new regime is finally established. But along the way they pass distinct turning points at which it becomes clear that the old order is gone beyond any hope of resurrection, and the future's possible shape, however vague and tentative, comes into view. So it was last week in the Soviet Union, late superpower and communist totalitarian state ruled from Moscow.

Since the failed coup in August, the country has been writhing in a last agony that, in the words of Russian President Boris Yeltsin,...

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