This is the third episode of the journey into my archive – to see what I have, and, as I scan a selection, tell you about how the work was made and give you some of the stories behind the images.
In this episode, I’ll show you an image of Mikhail Gorbachev, the eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, during the military parade in Moscow on 9 May 1990. The parade commemorated the 45th anniversary of the victory of the Soviet Union in World War II, but in 1990 the USSR was coming apart.
From the top of Lenin’s Mausoleum in Red Square, Gorbachev presided over an event that was marked by rare public protests. The New York Times reported the day in these terms:
“President Mikhail S. Gorbachev and the Kremlin leadership were jeered today by throngs of protesters who were allowed to march through Red Square at the end of the annual May Day parade.
The Soviet leaders watched in evident amazement from the top of Lenin’s mausoleum as a shouting, fist-shaking column milled underneath waving banners that condemned the Communist Party and the K.G.B., and supported Lithuania’s declaration of independence.
Chants of ”Resign!” and ”Shame!” were largely drowned out by the blare of parade music, but foreign visitors who watched from the reviewing stand said they could clearly hear the shriek of hoots and whistles that rose up from the cobblestoned square as Mr. Gorbachev led the others off the mausoleum after enduring 25 minutes of protest.”
In my photographs, you will see Gorbachev’s reaction to the protests, and I’ll show you the picture that TIME magazine chose from the many I made. It marks an important moment in the unraveling of the USSR, which was formally dissolved in December 1991.