Changes of Power: 1991 - Atlas Obscura

Brooklyn, New York

Changes of Power: 1991

In the third of a series of talks on the hidden history and untold contemporary realities of Russian culture and politics, explore the complex history and insider stories of the change of power between Mikhael Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin in December of 1991.

Discover the resonant history, conspiratorial claims, and varied perspectives of one of history's most momentous changes of power...

25 years ago, by signing away the existence of the Soviet Union, the author of Perestroika and Glasnost, Mikhail Gorbachev initiated the breakup of the country into 15 pieces, and the overnight deterioration of an enormous, millennium-old empire into a struggling Second World entity. The world balance of power, too, then shifted from bi-polar, to mono-polar. He had been forced to make this choice, he says, by Boris Yeltsin; the alternative was civil war within the USSR, and possibly, war with the United States and NATO. 

The first person Yeltsin called when Gorbachev resigned was US President George Bush, Sr. He then instituted a new constitution under the close tutelage of  Bill Clinton, and proceeded to sell off the country’s economy to off-shore shareholders.  

But the plot thickens: many insiders make compelling cases that Gorbachev may have been in on the conspiracy all along. 

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, New York Obscura Society’s resident Russia expert, host of the YouTube series Understand Russia, Daniel Veksler, delivers a whopper of a talk about changes of power, interference in other countries’ political processes, and how the overnight destruction of the most massive empire of modernity took place. 

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