Translation from the foreign media: 20 years ago, December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president, announcing its decay. The era of the communist empire, which lasted from 1922. The USSR was able to long economic stagnation, when Gorbachev came to power in 1985. To change everything, he spent several reforms, including perestroika and glasnost. Publicity given rise protests and many of the republic began to move towards independence, threatening the existence of the USSR. In August 1991, a group of leading representatives of the Communist Party, angry separatist movement, tried to hold a mutiny failed because of the civil conflict, but it is even more shattered the already unstable government. By December 1991, 16 Soviet republics declared their independence, and Gorbachev handed over power to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. So was the end of the Soviet Union. Collected here are photos of those troubled months 20 years ago.
1. A woman digging in a bag on a fallen hammer and sickle on the street in Moscow in 1991. December 25 will be 20 years since the Soviet collapse. (Alexander Nemenov / AFP / Getty Images)
2. Lithuanians with flags in the center of Vilnius, January 10, 1990 during a demonstration for independence. In early 1990, the candidates of "Sąjūdis" won the elections to the Supreme Soviet of Lithuania. March 11, 1990, the Supreme Council declared the restoration of Lithuanian independence. The Baltic republics were in the first row in the struggle for independence, and Lithuania became the first who declared independence. (Vitaly Armand / AFP / Getty Images)
3. Mikhail Gorbachev in a lively conversation with the residents of Vilnius, January 11, 1990. Gorbachev arrived in the Lithuanian capital, to encourage the local Communist Party to change the decision to secede from Moscow. (AP Photo / Victor Yurchenko)
4. The crowd blocks moving Soviet tanks on the road near Ganja in Soviet Azerbaijan January 22, 1990. The troops sent to quell the violence here, stumbled upon the armed resistance. (AP Photo)
5. People buy a cup in the center of Vilnius April 27, 1990. Despite the economic blockade of Lithuania by the Soviet Union in Vilnius stores were full of food and other goods. (AP Photo / Dusan Vranic)