Free Fall

As Russia's economy melts, Yeltsin vows he will stay on. But to do what?

When the Soviet Union was disintegrating during the late autumn of 1991, a band of disillusioned demonstrators gathered in Red Square. Bobbing along in their midst, under the shelter of the Kremlin's looming brick walls, was a placard that read 70 YEARS ON THE ROAD TO NOWHERE. The accusation was an angry and poignant truth. But then Russia was reborn under the old tricolor flag and set a new course toward not just reform but total transformation. And now, with the collapse of the economy and the paralysis of the government, that hopeful path has also run into a dead end....

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