Publish Date: Sept. 2, 1991
Cover Story: The Russian Revolution
How TIME Covered the News: A reactionary coup by forces opposed to Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms was thwarted, but forever weakened Soviet president’s control over the fraying Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s democratically-elected leader, then presided over the astonishing unraveling of the U.S.S.R.
“Now, after 74 years of communist dictatorship and, centuries before that, of czarist autocracy, the Russians may get a government they have earned — a democracy. For the first time, they did not subside into an acceptance of overlords. Instead they turned last week’s reactionary coup into a transforming rite of passage, an epochal event that forced even Gorbachev to re-examine his most basic beliefs and resign his post as head of the Communist Party.”
Next 1993 – Bill Clinton