The Soviet Union Collapses

Article excerpt

MOSCOW, 1991: Vacationing on the Black Sea, Mikhail Gorbachev was nearly overthrown by communist hard-liners. The Soviet president regained the Kremlin, but the U.S.S.R. broke up within months.

We should have been more vigorous in reforming the Communist Party. And also, I think, I shouldn't have gone on vacation. But I thought we had an agreement that we'd signed, we had an anti-crisis program. I thought that, in this

situation, only an adventurer could decide to take such steps. But they were adventurers.

I made a choice in favor of freedom and democracy, which was bound to lead to the abolition of the monopoly [on power] held by the party, to political pluralism. It was bound to lead to political reforms [and] reforms of property. But this is a very complicated process, especially here. And what is happening now is bad ...

I would say [the cold war actually ended] in '89, maybe even before '89-the movement started already then. The atmosphere became different, international relations were no longer ideological . …