A crowd of barely 150 mostly elderly people gathered in Moscow December 8 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Belovezh accords that dissolved the USSR in 1991. No major opposition leaders attended and the small size of the crowd was seen as an indication that, even if some strata of Russian society mourn the passing of the USSR, even radical Communists recognize that resurrecting the old Union is impossible. (Reuters, December 8) President Yeltsin marked the anniversary by giving interviews to the Interfax news agency and the newspaper Trud in which he asserted that the Soviet Union had already collapsed before he and the presidents of Ukraine and Belarus signed the Belovezh documents. The establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States had been the only way to ensure that the collapse proceeded peacefully, Yeltsin said. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, December 5)
Chechnya: Nineteen Hats in the Ring.