Celebrate More Than 25 Years of an Independent Ukraine

Celebrate More Than 25 Years of an Independent Ukraine

August 24, 2016 is the 25th anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence Day. On this day, 25 years ago, Ukraine’s parliament adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine. The momentous declaration came on the heels of the collapse of an attempted coup in Moscow, when communist hardliners tried to overthrow Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev to prevent the looming dissolution of the USSR (see our series on Witnessing the Fall of the USSR). The coup ultimately failed, and so did the Soviet Union. Now, 25 years down the line, Ukraine celebrates long and loud on this proud national holiday. Parades, fireworks, private parties and public festivals are staged across the country. Read More


Witnessing the Fall of the USSR: Doug’s Memories of August 1991

Witnessing the Fall of the USSR: Doug’s Memories of August 1991

It's been 28 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We're marking the anniversary with eyewitness accounts from MIR colleagues and contacts. In this installment, Doug shares his memories of the fateful days of the August coup in 1991, and his travels from Seattle to Moscow to Kamchatka in the Russian Far East. Read More


Witnessing the Fall of the USSR: The August Coup, 1991

Witnessing the Fall of the USSR: The August Coup, 1991

It's been 28 years since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We're marking the anniversary with eyewitness accounts from MIR colleagues and contacts. This installment is from Annie Lucas, then tour manager and now MIR’s vice president. She was leading one of her first few MIR tours to Russia. In her early 20s, she had done this several times before, but it was still new to her. And on this trip, her own father (Bud Lucas, who kindly let us use his photos) had signed up to be one of the participants, making it even more important to her that the trip go smoothly. As Annie and her group of travelers packed for the coach ride into Russia, they heard the news on Finnish TV: Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, was said to be ill and confined to his dacha. A State of Emergency had been declared and an Emergency Committee formed to take the reins of government while he was recovering. That was all anybody knew. Read More