The collapse of the USSR, 1991: a chronicle of events

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The collapse of the USSR, 1991: a chronicle of events
The collapse of the USSR, 1991: a chronicle of events

The collapse of the USSR in 1991 was the result of a process of systemic disintegration (destruction) that took place in its socio-political sphere, social structure and national economy. As a state, it officially ceased to exist on the basis of an agreement signed on December 8 by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, but the events preceding that began in January. Let's try to restore them in chronological order.

1991 collapse of the USSR

The beginning of the end of the great empire

The first link in the chain of events that gave rise to the political crisis of 1991 and the collapse of the USSR were the events that began in Lithuania, after M.S. Gorbachev, who was then the president of the Soviet Union, demanded that the government of the republic restore the previously suspended operation of the Soviet Constitution on its territory. His appeal, sent on January 10, was supported by the introduction of an additional contingent of internal troops, blockading a number of important public centers in Vilnius.

Three days later, a statement was published by the National Salvation Committee created in Lithuania, in which its members expressed support for the actions of the republicanauthorities. In response to this, on the night of January 14, Vilnius television center was occupied by airborne troops.

First Blood

Events became particularly acute on December 20, after OMON units arrived from Moscow began to seize the building of the Lithuanian Ministry of Internal Affairs, and as a result of the firefight that ensued, four people died and about ten were injured. This first blood spilled on the streets of Vilnius served as the detonator of the social explosion that resulted in the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

The collapse of the USSR occurred in 1991

The actions of the central authorities, who tried to regain control over the B altics by force, led to the most negative consequences for them. Gorbachev became the object of sharp criticism from representatives of both the Russian and regional democratic opposition. Protesting against the use of military force against civilians, Y. Primakov, L. Abalkin, A. Yakovlev and a number of other former associates of Gorbachev resigned.

The Lithuanian government's response to Moscow's actions was a referendum on the republic's secession from the USSR, held on February 9, during which over 90% of its participants voted for independence. This can rightly be called the beginning of a process that resulted in the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

An attempt to revive the Union Treaty and the triumph of B.N. Yeltsin

The next stage in the general series of events was the referendum held in the country on March 17 of the same year. At it, 76% of the citizens of the USSR spoke in favor of maintaining the Union in an updated form, andintroduction of the post of President of Russia. In this regard, in April 1991, in the presidential residence of Novo-Ogaryovo, negotiations began between the heads of the republics that were part of the USSR on the conclusion of a new Union Treaty. M.S. presided over them. Gorbachev.

In accordance with the results of the referendum, the first presidential elections in the history of Russia were held, which were won by B.N. Yeltsin, confidently ahead of the rest of the candidates, among whom were such well-known politicians as V.V. Zhirinovsky, N.I. Ryzhkov, A.M. Tuleev, V.V. Bakatin and General A.M. Makashov.

1991 collapse of the USSR coup

Seeking a compromise

In 1991, the collapse of the USSR was preceded by a very complex and lengthy process of redistribution of power between the union center and its republican branches. The need for it was due precisely to the establishment of the presidential post in Russia and the election of B.N. Yeltsin.

This greatly complicated the drafting of a new union treaty, the signing of which was scheduled for August 22. It was known in advance that a compromise option was being prepared, providing for the transfer of a wide range of powers to individual subjects of the federation, and leaving Moscow to decide only the most important issues, such as defense, internal affairs, finances and a number of others.

The main initiators of the creation of the State Emergency Committee

Under these conditions, the August events of 1991 significantly accelerated the collapse of the USSR. They went down in the history of the country as a putsch by the State Emergency Committee (State Committee for the State of Emergency), or a failed attemptcarrying out a coup d'état. Its initiators were politicians who previously held high government positions and were extremely interested in maintaining the old regime. Among them were G.I. Yanaev, B.K. Pugo, D.T. Yazov, V.A. Kryuchkov and others. Their photo is shown below. The committee was established by them in the absence of the President of the USSR - M.S. Gorbachev, who was at that time at the Foros government dacha in Crimea.

August putsch of 1991 and the collapse of the USSR

Emergency measures

Immediately after the establishment of the State Emergency Committee, it was announced that its members had taken a number of emergency measures, such as the introduction of a state of emergency in a large part of the country and the abolition of all newly formed power structures, the creation of which was not provided for by the Constitution of the USSR. In addition, the activities of opposition parties, as well as demonstrations and rallies, were prohibited. In addition, it was announced about the upcoming economic reforms in the country.

The August putsch of 1991 and the collapse of the USSR began with the order of the State Emergency Committee on the introduction of troops into the largest cities of the country, among which was Moscow. This extreme, and, as practice has shown, a very unreasonable measure, was taken by the members of the committee to intimidate the people and give their statement more weight. However, they achieved just the opposite result.

The inglorious end of the coup

Taking the initiative into their own hands, opposition representatives organized thousands of rallies in a number of cities across the country. In Moscow, more than half a million people became their participants. In addition, opponents of the GKChPmanaged to win over the command of the Moscow garrison and thereby deprive the putschists of their main support.

August events of 1991, the collapse of the USSR

The next stage of the coup and the collapse of the USSR (1991) was the trip of members of the State Emergency Committee to the Crimea, undertaken by them on August 21. Having lost the last hope of taking control of the actions of the opposition, led by B.N. Yeltsin, they went to Foros for negotiations with M.S. Gorbachev, who, by their order, was isolated from the outside world there and, in fact, was in the position of a hostage. However, the very next day, all the organizers of the coup were arrested and taken to the capital. Following them, M.S. returned to Moscow. Gorbachev.

Last effort to save the Union

So the 1991 coup d'état was prevented. The collapse of the USSR was inevitable, but attempts were still being made to preserve at least part of the former empire. For this purpose, M.S. Gorbachev, when drafting a new union treaty, made significant and previously unforeseen concessions in favor of the union republics, endowing their governments with even greater powers.

In addition, he was forced to officially recognize the independence of the B altic states, which actually launched the mechanism for the collapse of the USSR. In 1991, Gorbachev also made an attempt to form a qualitatively new democratic union government. Democrats popular among the people, such as V.V. Bakatin, E.A. Shevardnadze and their supporters.

Recognizing that in the current political situation, to maintain the samethe structure of the state is impossible, in September they began preparing an agreement on the creation of a new confederal Union, in which the former republics of the USSR were to enter as independent subjects. However, work on this document was not destined to be completed. On December 1, a nationwide referendum was held in Ukraine, and based on its results, the republic withdrew from the USSR, which crossed out Moscow's plans to create a confederation.

1991 coup, collapse of the USSR

Belovezhskaya agreement, which marked the beginning of the creation of the CIS

The final collapse of the USSR occurred in 1991. Its legal justification was an agreement concluded on December 8 at the government hunting dacha "Viskuli", located in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, from which it got its name. Based on the document signed by the heads of Belarus (S. Shushkevich), Russia (B. Yeltsin) and Ukraine (L. Kravchuk), the Commonwe alth of Independent States (CIS) was formed, which put an end to the existence of the USSR. The photo is shown above.

Following that, eight more republics of the former Soviet Union joined the agreement concluded between Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. On December 21, the heads of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Moldova, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan signed the document.

The leaders of the B altic republics welcomed the news of the collapse of the USSR, but refrained from joining the CIS. Georgia, headed by Z. Gamsakhurdia, followed their example, but soon after, as a result of what happened inE.A. came to power after a coup d'état. Shevardnadze, also joined the newly formed Commonwe alth.

1991 collapse of the USSR briefly

President out of work

The conclusion of the Belovezhskaya Agreement caused an extremely negative reaction from M.S. Gorbachev, who until then held the post of president of the USSR, but after the August putsch, was deprived of real power. Nevertheless, historians note that in the events that took place there is a significant share of his personal guilt. No wonder B.N. Yeltsin said in an interview that the agreement signed in Belovezhskaya Pushcha did not destroy the USSR, but merely stated this long-standing fact.

Since the Soviet Union ceased to exist, the position of its president was also abolished. In this regard, on December 25, Mikhail Sergeevich, who remained out of work, submitted a letter of resignation from his high post. They say that when he came to the Kremlin two days later to pick up his things, the new president of Russia, B.N., was already in full swing in the office that belonged to him earlier. Yeltsin. I had to reconcile. Time inexorably moved forward, opening the next stage in the life of the country and making history the collapse of the USSR in 1991, briefly described in this article.

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