On December 25, 1991, at 7:35 p.m., soldiers lowered the red Soviet flag flying over the Kremlin and raised the new blue, white and red Russian tri-color in its place. The ceremony occurred with no fanfare, witnessed only by a few dozen tourists who stood on the cobblestones of Red Square in a light snow and applauded when the hammer and sickle disappeared. It was an inglorious end for a regime that had, in many ways, defined the 20th century. Christmas, 2001, is the tenth anniversary of the demise of the Soviet Union, and National Geographic will commemorate the event with the publication of Broken Empire, a photography book that examines the turbulent first decade of Russia's rebirth. The photographs are by Gerd Ludwig, who has shot numerous stories in the Soviet Union and Russia for National Geographic magazine, including articles on the Trans-Siberian Railway, pollution in the former USSR, and Moscow. The essays are by Fen Montaigne, who, as Moscow correspondent for The Philadelphia Inquirer, witnessed the end of the USSR and has since returned regularly to Russia for National Geographic magazine. In photographs and words, Ludwig and Montaigne will look not only at the wrenching changes that have swept Russia in the past 10 years, but also at the direction Russian society is heading in the future. The media has paid much attention to the chaos, corruption and hardship that have accompanied the birth of the new Russia. But anyone who knows the country well also understands that there is another side to the story, and that a younger generation - particularly in the big cities - is building a new, more prosperous society. Through the eyes of ordinary Russians, Ludwig and Montaigne will portray these various facets of Russia today. They will draw on some of their previous work, as well as months of travel, now underway, as they prepare an article for National Geographic magazine on Russia today.