The Info List - Belavezha Accords

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Agreement establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States

The signing ceremony at Viskuly Government House in the Belarusian Belovezhskaya Pushcha
Belovezhskaya Pushcha
National Park, 8 December 1991

Type Treaty establishing a loose regional organisation

Signed 8 December 1991

Location De facto: Białowieża Forest De jure: Minsk, Belarus

Effective 12 December 1991

Signatories Boris Yeltsin Leonid Kravchuk Stanislav Shushkevich

Parties Russia Ukraine Belarus

Depositary Minsk, Belarus

The Belavezha Accords
Belavezha Accords
(Russian: Беловежские соглашения, Belarusian: Белавежскае пагадненне, Ukrainian: Біловезькі угоди) is the agreement that declared the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
effectively dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) in its place. It was signed at the state dacha near Viskuli
in Belovezhskaya Pushcha on December 8, 1991, by the leaders of three of the four republics-signatories of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR
Treaty on the Creation of the USSR
— Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Ukrainian president Leonid Kravchuk and Belarusian parliament chairman Stanislav Shushkevich. The original accord could not be found as of 2013 (see below).


1 Transliteration 2 Legal basis and ratification 3 Current location 4 Signators 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Transliteration[edit] The name is variously transliterated as Belavezh Accords, Belovezh Accords, Belovezha Accords, Belavezha Agreement, Belovezhskaya Accord, Belaya Vezha Accord, etc. Legal basis and ratification[edit] While doubts remained over the authority of the leaders of three of the 12 remaining republics (the three Baltic republics had seceded in August) to dissolve the Union, according to Article 72 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution, Soviet republics had the right to secede freely from the Union. On December 12, 1991 the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR ratified the accords on behalf of Russia
and at the same time denounced the 1922 Treaty on the Creation of the Soviet Union. While this is sometimes noted as the moment that the largest republic in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
effectively seceded, this is not the case. Rather, the RSFSR appeared to take the line that it was not possible to secede from an entity that no longer existed. However, in the aftermath of the failed coup in August 1991, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had been effectively dissolved and the republics were scrambling to pull free of Moscow. By the end of the summer of 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
could no longer influence events outside of the Kremlin. He was being challenged even there by Yeltsin, who by the end of the fall had taken over most of the Soviet government.

Xerography of Accords

The preamble of the document stated that "the USSR, as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality, is ceasing its existence." It also invited other republics to join the three founding members. These attempts to dissolve the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
were seen as illegal by what remained of the Soviet federal government. Gorbachev himself described the moves thus:

...The fate of the multinational state cannot be determined by the will of the leaders of three republics. The question should be decided only by constitutional means with the participation of all sovereign states and taking into account the will of all their citizens. The statement that Unionwide legal norms would cease to be in effect is also illegal and dangerous; it can only worsen the chaos and anarchy in society. The hastiness with which the document appeared is also of serious concern. It was not discussed by the populations nor by the Supreme Soviets of the republics in whose name it was signed. Even worse, it appeared at the moment when the draft treaty for a Union of Sovereign States, drafted by the USSR State Council, was being discussed by the parliaments of the republics.[1]

All doubts about whether the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
still existed were removed on December 21, 1991, when the representatives of 11 of the 12 remaining Soviet republics—all except Georgia—signed the Alma-Ata Protocol, which confirmed the extinction of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and restated the establishment of the CIS. Given that 11 of the republics now agreed that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
no longer existed, the plurality of member-republics required for its continuance as a federal State was no longer in place. The summit of Alma-Ata also provisionally accepted Gorbachev's resignation as president of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and agreed on several other practical measures consequential to the extinction of the Union. Gorbachev stated that he would resign as soon as he knew the CIS was a reality. Three days later, in a secret meeting with Yeltsin, he accepted the fait accompli of the Soviet Union's dissolution. However, for four more days a rump Soviet federal government continued to exist, and Gorbachev continued to hold control over the Kremlin. This ended in the early hours of December 25, 1991, when Gorbachev resigned and turned control of the Kremlin and the remaining powers of his office over to the office of the president of Russia, Yeltsin. Gorbachev's televised resignation speech and the subsequent lowering of the flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and hoisting of the flag of Russia
on the flagpole in front of the Kremlin was broadcast around the world. On this day, President of the United States
President of the United States
George H. W. Bush, a former head of the CIA, gave a short speech on national TV in the United States
United States
to commemorate the ending of the Cold War
Cold War
and to recognize the independence of the former states of the Soviet Union.[2] Also on December 25, 1991, the Russian SFSR, now no longer a sub-national entity of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
but a sovereign nation in its own right, adopted a law renaming itself the "Russian Federation" or "Russia" (both being equally official). Gorbachev's speech and the lowering of the Soviet flag marked the end of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in the eyes of the world. However, the final legal step in the dissolution came a day later, when the Soviet of the Republics, the upper house of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, recognized the collapse of the Union and voted both itself and the Union out of existence. The lower house, the Soviet of the Union, had not met since 12 December when Russia
recalled its deputies from both chambers, leaving it without a quorum. The Summit of Alma-Ata also issued a statement on December 21, 1991 supporting Russia's claim to be recognized as the successor state of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
for the purposes of membership of the United Nations. On December 25, 1991, Russian President Yeltsin
informed UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had been dissolved and that Russia
would, as its successor state, continue the Soviet Union's membership in the United Nations. The document confirmed the credentials of the representatives of the Soviet Union as representatives of Russia, and requested that the name "Soviet Union" be changed to "Russian Federation" in all records and entries. This was a move designed to allow Russia
to retain the Soviet Union's permanent Security Council seat, which wouldn't have been possible if the former republics were all reckoned as equal successors of the Soviet Union, or if the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was regarded as having no successor state for the purpose of continuing the same UN membership. (see Russia
and the United Nations). The Secretary General circulated the request, and there being no objection from any Member State, the Russian Federation took the Soviet Union's UN seat. On January 31, 1992, Russian Federation President Yeltsin
personally took part in a Security Council meeting as representative of Russia, the first Security Council meeting in which Russia
occupied the permanent Security Council seat originally granted to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
by the UN Charter. Current location[edit] Stanislav Shushkevich, the former leader of Belarus
was told by the country's foreign ministry that the original accords have gone missing as of February 7, 2013. He tried to obtain the original copy to assist in writing his memoirs.[3] Signators[edit]

Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
(1931–2007) — President of Russia
(1991–1999) Gennady Burbulis
Gennady Burbulis
(born 1945) — State Secretary of Russia (1991–1992) Leonid Kravchuk
Leonid Kravchuk
(born 1934) — President of Ukraine
(1991–1994) Vitold Fokin (born 1932) — Prime Minister of Ukraine
(1991–1992) Stanislav Shushkevich
Stanislav Shushkevich
(born 1934) — Chairman of Supreme Soviet of Belarus
(1991–1994) Vyacheslav Kebich (born 1936) — Prime Minister of Belarus (1991–1994)

See also[edit]

Dissolution of the Soviet Union Union Treaty of 1922, which was denounced by the Belavezha Accords.


^ Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev (2000). On my country and the world. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-11514-8.  ^ "Bush on the Commonwealth of Independent States". Archived from the original on 2009-10-31.  ^ "Document proclaiming death of Soviet Union
Soviet Union
missing". The Daily Telegraph. London. February 7, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Belavezha Accords.

Soviet Leaders Recall ‘Inevitable’ Breakup Of Soviet Union, Radio Free Europe, 8 December 2006 14 Years of Belavezha Accords’ Signing map location

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Boris Yeltsin

1 February 1931 – 23 April 2007 1st President of Russia

Life and politics

Birthplace Sverdlovsk Regional Committee of the CPSU Moscow City Committee of the CPSU Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR 28th Congress of the CPSU Death and state funeral


First inauguration Second inauguration Cabinet of Yeltsin–Gaidar State Committee on the State of Emergency 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt Dissolution of the Soviet Union Belavezha Accords 1993 Russian constitutional crisis Constitutional referendum Shannon diplomatic incident Privatization First Chechen War Monetary reform (1993) Monetary reform (1998) 1998 financial crisis List of trips


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Nikolay Yeltsin
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(wife) Tatyana Yumasheva
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(daughter) Elena Okulova (daughter)

Category:Boris Yeltsin Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin

Coordinates: 52°37′23″N 23°57′19″E / 52.6231°N 23.9554°E / 52.6


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