How the Soviet Union's Collapse Changed Their Lives – and Our World

Three decades ago, what had been the most ambitious ideological project in contemporary human history – involving the rise of a truly fearsome superpower – ended in a whimper. Nine men and women who grew up in the USSR look back at the trials and tribulations of that critical turning point

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Liza Rozovsky
Liza Rozovsky
Liza Rozovsky
Liza Rozovsky

The year 1991 began with Soviet tanks firing on Lithuanian civilians who were striving to protect their country’s independence. It then moved on to a failed attempted putsch in Moscow that aimed to turn back the wheels of history, and ultimately ended with the official breakup of the Soviet Union as set out in an agreement inked by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, and with the resignation of the USSR’s first and last president, Michael Gorbachev. The most ambitious ideological project in the history of modern humankind, marked by the emergence of a menacing but eventually atrophying superpower, came to its end exactly 30 years ago, in a still, small voice.

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