For further background information, see the TIME Archive for TIME's August, 1991 special issue on the revolution in Russia (fee required).
This week marks the anniversary of both the Cold War's nadir, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and its end with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Hugh Sidey writes on one of its lowest points, with President Kennedy at the construction of the Berlin Wall. Moscow bureau chief Paul Quinn-Judge remembers what the city was like in August 1991, when the hard-liners made their last desperate push to retain power. Tony Karon argues that Russians, at least materially, were better off under the Soviet state. And in an award-winning photo essay, photographer Anthony Suau looks at Russia and the other Eastern Bloc countries in the years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.