Political upheaval had left the Soviet Union in an increasingly desperate situation by the beginning of the 1990s. A failed coup against President Mikhail Gorbachev in August 1991 initiated a final series of events, which ended in dissolution just four months later on 26 December 1991. Although the Soviet Union comprised 15 Soviet republics at its height, Russia was its founder and largest economy. Just as the Soviet Union took the diplomatic status of imperial Russia before it, the new Russian Federation took the Soviet Union’s seat on the UN Security Council and was given responsibility for the nuclear arsenal. In December 1991, under the new president Boris Yeltsin, a commonwealth of former Soviet Republics was established to foster continued economic and military ties between the new independent states. Georgia did not join the commonwealth until 1993. In addition to vast political changes, the privatization of state assets proved to be a monumental undertaking.
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