World marks 30th anniversary of Soviet Union's collapse

On Christmas night, 1991, Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev resigned and relinquished his powers, including the nuclear codes, to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The flag of the USSR that flew over the Kremlin was lowered, never to be raised again. The next day, the Soviet legislature formally dissolved the Soviet Union, bringing a final end to the Cold War.

In a Christmas address from the Oval Office, then-President George H.W. Bush called the communist regime's collapse "one of the greatest dramas of the 20th century" and "a victory for democracy and freedom."

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