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Podcast: Stepping Out Of The Shadow Of The Soviet Empire

Host Pavel Butorin (left) discusses the 1991 Soviet putsch with Natalia Churikova of our Ukrainian Service (second from left), Alisher Sidikov from the Uzbek Service, and Harry Tamrazian of our Armenian Service.
Twenty years ago this week, in August 1991, a group of senior hard-line members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the KGB attempted to seize control of the country from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

The abortive coup, which lasted just three days, paved the way for the collapse of the Soviet Union by the end of 1991.

Boris Nemtsov in a 1993 photo
In Episode 32 of "The Blender," correspondent Robert Coalson speaks with Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was a member of the Russian parliament at the time and a close ally of Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Nemtsov was in the midst of a mass campaign of civil resistance that helped defeat the plotters. He recalls the dramatic days of August 1991, assesses the role of the West in the following years, and offers a country-by-country analysis of where the former Soviet states are now. (A full transcript of the interview is available here.)

This week's host, Pavel Butorin, also chats with Harry Tamrazian of RFE/RL's Armenian Service, Natalia Churikova of the Ukrainian Service, and Alisher Sidikov of the Uzbek Service about their countries' efforts to break out of the shadow of the Soviet empire.

Countries that used to be part of the Soviet Union range from European democracies to authoritarian dictatorships, diverse in their culture, language, and politics. Does "the post-Soviet space" still exist?

This week, we feature the 1994 song "Born In The U.S.S.R." by the Russian band DDT and its leader, Yury Shevchuk.

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Listen to or download Episode 32 of "The Blender" below or subscribe to "The Blender" on iTunes. For the complete "Blender" archive, click here.

The Soviet Empire Crumbles (Episode 32)
The Soviet Empire Crumbles (Episode 32)
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