30 years since Soviet collapse
December 25, 2021 - Thirty years ago the Soviet Union came to an end, but the chain of events leading up to the collapse was set in motion six years earlier by the sweeping reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev.
On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union for almost seven years, stepped down from office. He announced his resignation in a 10-minute speech, broadcast live on television, as the Soviet Union passed into history.
At the Kremlin, the Soviet flag, bearing the hammer and sickle, was lowered for the last time.
With the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia lost control of 14 former republics it had previously dominated.
This year states across Eastern and Central Europe are marking their third decade of independence, and the region remains in a state of unknown; oscillating between the western liberal democracies of the EU and a pivot towards Moscow and the East.
Russia recently announced it was suspending its mission to NATO and closing the alliance's offices in Moscow, as relations with the Western military bloc plunged to new depths.
Ukraine has become the main flashpoint after a build-up of tens of thousands of Russian troops near its border and a series of tough statements from President Vladimir Putin setting out his “red lines”.