An inside look at how Yeltsin and his team of reform rookies and veterans pursue the daunting task of radically changing Russia

Few places have borne witness to so much modern history as the fifth-floor corner conference room at No. 4 Staraya Ploshchad, a few blocks from the Kremlin. Seated in brown leather swivel chairs around a wooden table, the ruling Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union made its decisions to invade Afghanistan, reduce nuclear weapons, settle questions of Kremlin succession. It was in this room that Mikhail Gorbachev first discussed reform policies that would change the world and bring the U.S.S.R. to an end. Today the headquarters of the once powerful party belongs to Russia's new democratic leadership: Boris...

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