The Party on Trial

Yeltsin's democrats are asking a constitutional court to outlaw the Communist Party once and for all

The new tricolor flag of democratic Russia looked as if it had been hastily tacked to the courtroom wall underneath a metal emblem with the Soviet hammer and sickle. The 13 judges, seated at a nearby tribunal, did not appear to be completely comfortable in their new black robes with white linings. Minutes after the hearings opened, the court became embroiled in a free-for-all about how to deal with the fact that former President Mikhail Gorbachev had refused to show up. Show trials have always been a staple of Soviet political discourse, but the proceeding that began in Moscow last week...

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