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Podcast: Eyewitnesses Recall U.S.S.R.'s Dying Days, Plus St. Petersburg Surf Rock


Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk (left), Belarusian leader Stanislau Shushkevich (center), and Russian President Boris Yeltsin after signing the Belavezha Accords, which formally dissolved the Soviet Union, on December 8, 1991.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk (left), Belarusian leader Stanislau Shushkevich (center), and Russian President Boris Yeltsin after signing the Belavezha Accords, which formally dissolved the Soviet Union, on December 8, 1991.

December 8 marked the 20th anniversary of the Belavezha Accords, the document signed in a Belarusian forest in 1991 by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, which declared an end to the U.S.S.R.

Between March 1990 and the end of 1991, all 15 Soviet republics had declared their independence. The Cold War had ended, for all intents and purposes.

Oleg Gitarkin and Zombierella of Messer Chups

Oleg Gitarkin and Zombierella of Messer Chups

On Episode 48 of The Blender, we look back at those momentous days through the eyewitness accounts of some of our colleagues here at RFE/RL who lived through or reported on those events.

The reminiscences are taken from a special report at rfel.org called The Fall: 20 Years After The Collapse Of The U.S.S.R.

Elsewhere in the podcast, correspondent Kristin Deasy tells us about the Afghan debut of "Sesame Street," the beloved American children's TV show. Big Bird is now King of the Birds, and the only letters used are those shared by Afghanistan's two main languages, Dari and Pashto. But the message of the show hasn't changed a bit.

Grant Podelco

Grant Podelco

And finally, surf rock from St. Petersburg. And Jimi Hendrix, Belarus, and drum 'n' bass. Romanian journalist Lucian Stefanescu hosts a rather surreal edition of our regular "Ear to the Ground" music segment.

This week's host is Grant Podelco.

Music used in this week's podcast includes the Soviet "March of the Motherland" and "I Want Change" performed by Viktor Tsoi and the band Kino.

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Listen to or download Episode 48 of The Blender above, or subscribe to The Blender on iTunes. For the complete Blender archives, click here.
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