ABSTRACT

Just as the popular imagination became inflamed by the events of 1989, and the “fall of the wall” was commonly taken as a sign of the inevitability of a new, open, free, and democratic Eastern Europe, so too was the disintegration of the Soviet Union in December of 1991 taken as a sign of the inevitability of a new, open, free, and democratic Russia. Although the events in Berlin were significant in spurring changes onward, with different rhetorical choices by Soviet and Russian leaders along the way history could have been written quite differently. The central concern of this article is to show how these rhetorical choices shaped the future of post-Communist transition in the Russian Federation. We proceed chronologically, examining key moments in the rhetoricity of the Russian transition from Communism toward its current form of governance.

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