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The disintegration of the USSR- Walter Cobb

  • Gorbachev becomes leader

    Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev becomes Communist Party General Secretary. He is the youngest and healthiest of the last three leaders, which were elderly, sick, and old-school communists
  • Enter Yeltsin

    Gorbachev appoints a little-known provincial party boss as head of the Moscow Communist Party. His name is Boris Yeltsin.
  • Perestroika starts in earnest

  • Perestroika hits problems

    Perestroika hits its first major political iceberg. It has already been resisted by bureaucrats trying to block Gorbachev's economic reforms.
  • Yeltsin elected to parliament

    Elections are held for the new parliament set up as part of Gorbachev's reforms. It is called the Congress of People's Deputies. Boris Yeltsin wins a massive vote in a Moscow constituency - he is back in national politics.
  • Soviet bloc crumbles

    Gorbachev announces that countries in the Warsaw Pact are free to decide on their own futures. Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement has already trounced the communists in Poland in June elections. Walesa takes office in August.
  • Berlin Wall comes down

    The Berlin Wall - the single most potent symbol of the Cold War - is torn down in an incredible display of "people power".
  • Protesters killed by Soviet troops

    The old Soviet ways are dying but not dead.
  • Yeltsin leaves communists

    Boris Yeltsin publicly resigns from the Communist Party.
  • Yeltsin is Russian president

    Russians, still firmly bound within the Soviet Union, are nevertheless allowed to vote for their own president for the first time. They choose Yeltsin.
  • Coup begins

    Gorbachev is on the eve of signing a deal with the republics giving them greater freedom. It is the last straw for the hardliners.
  • Gorbachev returns

    An exhausted Gorbachev makes a dramatic return to Moscow from his detention in the Crimea.
  • USSR disbanded

    The Soviet Union is entering its final days.