In 1991 the USSR, beset with problems of debt, glasnost/perestroika, failure of national leadership, democratization, and out-of-control military spending, broke apart into 16 separate countries—some autonomous, others partially so. Notably, for the most part, this process occurred peacefully, that is, without the central ruling elite unleashing the might of its army against those regions, and without the terror/suicide bombing of the institutions of the then Soviet Union that we see today as a pretextual political statement in other parts of the world.
It was a significant transition made even more so by the fact that the citizens of the 16 regions achieved separation of their geographic areas, then formed governments, when they had never before participated in a fully operational democratic process at the national level. In other words, the citizens avoided what could have been, in an earlier time in history, a
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