It is 20 years since the destruction of the Berlin Wall by the people of then divided Germany signalled that Russia’s control over Eastern Europe was collapsing. Russia had held Eastern Europe in a brutal grip for four and a half decades, since the end of the Second World War.

4. Stalin’s system collapses

The system Stalin built in the old Tsarist empire has collapsed irretrievably. The USSR is collapsing, too: most of its republics have now declared themselves independent. In most of those republics the “Communist Party of the Soviet Union” has either been banned outright, or banned from activity in the army and the KGB, and in factories.

A Third Camp in Ukraine’s tussle

Chris Ford

Parliamentary elections took place in Ukraine on 30 September; western pundits are proclaiming these may “have saved the Orange Revolution”, of 2004. The elections were an effort to resolve the political crisis in Ukraine, triggered by by President Viktor Yushchenko’s decree on 2 April dissolving parliament, after a protracted power struggle between rival blocs.