This symposium is being held in conjunction with the opening of the exhibition “The Demise of the Soviet Union, 1985-1991: A 25-Year Retrospective.” The peaceful dissolution of the USSR in late December 1991 came after four turbulent months in the wake of the aborted August 1991 coup in Moscow. Soon after the coup was rebuffed, four of the fifteen Soviet republics -- Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Georgia -- officially left the USSR. Efforts by the remaining eleven republics to work out a new Soviet state treaty made little headway in the fall of 1991 and came to a halt at the beginning of December when Ukrainian voters overwhelmingly approved a declaration of Ukraine's independence. On 7-8 December 1991 the leaders of the three Slavic republics -- Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus -- gathered in Belovezhskaya Pushcha to sign what became known as the Belavezha Accords. One of those leaders, Boris Yeltsin, is now dead, but the two other leaders and the chief aide to Yeltsin at Belovezhskaya Pushcha will participate in this panel. Two weeks after the Belovezha accords were concluded, all eleven republics that were still in the USSR joined in signing the Almaty Protocol, which provided for the final dissolution of the USSR. Four days later, on Christmas Day, President Mikhail Gorbachev formally resigned. The next day, the Soviet parliament formally approved the end of the Soviet Union, and the Soviet red flag came down from atop the Kremlin one last time.