Yeltsin's Key Partners

As Ukraine's top ideological watchdog in the 1980s, Leonid Kravchuk was responsible for stamping out all traces of nationalism. But two weeks ago, after deftly shedding his party past, Kravchuk, 57, rode a wave of nationalist sentiment to election as President of an independent Ukraine, the most powerful of the republics after Russia. Then he went one step further, joining Russia and Belorussia with a plan to form a loosely knit commonwealth.

The move marked the culmination of a stunning political metamorphosis. After August's aborted coup, Kravchuk, then chairman of the Ukrainian parliament, straddled the fence, neither endorsing nor categorically condemning...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!