On 21 December 1991, the members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR or Soviet Union, signed the Alma Ata Protocol in which they formally agreed upon the dissolution of the Union. Russia was to inherit the USSR's role, including its seat on the security council, at the United Nations, while the other republics were to become independent nations.
On 25 December, Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as Soviet president and that night the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time over the Kremlin. The Supreme Soviet dissolved itself the next day. The Soviet Union, which had come into being as the hope and inspiration of countless millions of workers and peasants worldwide, did not survive to mark the 75th anniversary of the revolution that gave it birth.
'In my opinion, nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of socialism as the belief that Russia is a socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the last ten years, I have been convinced that the destruction of the Soviet myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement.' - George Orwell, Preface to Animal Farm