To the 30th anniversary of the All-Ukrainian referendum on December 1, 1991
Let’s remember how it all started. In the early 1990s, the national liberation movement and socio-political life intensified in the USSR. Such public associations as the Memorial, the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Language Society, the Student Brotherhood, the Ukrainian Cultural Center, and others have become widely popular. A little earlier, in September 1989, the first mass political structure, in fact in opposition to the government, emerged – the People’s Movement for Perestroika.
In March 1990, elections to the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR and local councils took place. For the first time, a large group of deputies – independence fighters – appeared in the parliament. Thanks to them, the idea of independence resounded in the legislature.. On July 16, 1990, the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR approved the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine.
In April 1991, on the initiative of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, the leaders of nine republics (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Azerbaijan) gathered in Novo-Ogaryovo, near Moscow. The topic of negotiations is the content of the new union agreement. It was planned to be signed at the Congress of People’s Deputies of the USSR in September-October 1991. Representatives of the national-democratic opposition were preparing for protests to prevent this. On the other hand, a group of the most conservative representatives of the allied secret services, the Communist Party, the Soviet and the military bureaucracy considered the draft of the new union treaty too liberal. They created the State Committee for State of Emergency (Russian – ГКЧП) and on August 19, 1991 carried out a coup d’etat, declaring a state of emergency and sending troops into Moscow.
The People’s Movement of Ukraine, the Party of Democratic Revival of Ukraine and other democratic forces called on the people to disobey the State Committee for Emergency Situations. The leadership of the CPU sided with the rebels. Rallies in support of the legitimately elected government and state sovereignty swept the country.
On August 21, 1991, the coup failed. The attempt to restore the totalitarian Soviet system and curtail democratic processes failed.
On August 24, 1991, an extraordinary session of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR took place, at which the Act of Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine was adopted. The historic decision was made by an absolute majority: 346 votes were cast for independence, and only 1 against.
The Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR “On the Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine” of August 24, 1991 adopted a decision to hold an all-Ukrainian referendum to confirm the Act. On October 11, 1991, the resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the text of the bulletin and the appeal to the people.
The referendum ballot contained the text of the Act of Independence of Ukraine and the question “Do you confirm the Act of Independence of Ukraine?” with two possible answers: “Yes, I confirm” or “No, I do not confirm”.
СThe special appeal of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine also called on the citizens of Ukraine to support the Act: “Compatriots! Let us be united in our aspirations, in building the independent statehood of Ukraine! Our land has experienced many grievances and sufferings, captivity, disaster sowed it – so on December 1, history itself gives us a chance, perhaps the last, to become real citizens, creators of their state, builders of “own house”, where their truth, strength and power reign. will”.
On December 1, 1991, the All-Ukrainian referendum on Ukraine’s independence took place. 90.32% of those who participated, or 28,804,071 citizens, spoke in support of independence.
Simultaneously with the referendum, Ukrainians elected the first President of Ukraine – Leonid Kravchuk.
The all-Ukrainian referendum was not a legislative necessity, as the Verkhovna Rada had already made all the necessary decisions at that time. The referendum made it impossible to reconsider the decision of the deputies and finally confirmed the birth of an independent Ukrainian state.
On December 5, the Verkhovna Rada proclaimed in its “Message to the Parliaments and Peoples of All Countries:” Ukraine considers the 1922 Treaty on the Establishment of the USSR to be invalid and ineffective.
On December 8, the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus signed an agreement stating that the Union “as a subject of international law and geopolitical reality would cease to exist.”
It has become obvious that the Union is impossible without Ukraine. On December 25, 1991, the first and last president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, announced his resignation. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ceased to exist. Just as the criminal communist totalitarian system ceased to exist.
During the democratic expression of will on December 1, 1991, the Ukrainian people reaffirmed their desire to live in a sovereign state and laid the foundations for state-building processes in independent Ukraine. Democratic transformations – the result of the restoration of independence and the referendum on December 1, 1991.
According to the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory.