At midnight on December 31, 1991, the flag of the Soviet Union came down for the last time, signaling the end of Soviet power and the end of the communist dream. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Soviet leaders had aimed to establish communism throughout the world. But early idealism turned to dictatorship, fueling the long, terrifying stalemate of the Cold War. By 1989, the Soviet Union was tottering, unable to control its own inhabitants or compete with the West. Its collapse changed global politics forever.
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The coup that failed The communist triumph Behind the iron curtain Enter Gorbachev The fall of the iron curtain Breaking up Russia after communism The Soviet collapse and the world.