- December 8 -

Dissolution of Soviet Union Declared

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formally dissolved on December 25, 1991. This left all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union as independent sovereign states. The dissolution of the world's first and largest Communist state also marked an end to the Cold War. In order to revive...

Dissolution of Soviet Union Declared

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formally dissolved on December 25, 1991. This left all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union as independent sovereign states. The dissolution of the world's first and largest Communist state also marked an end to the Cold War.
In order to revive the stagnant Soviet economy, in the 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began a process of increasing political liberalization (glasnost/perestroika) in the erstwhile totalitarian, communist one-party state. However, this liberalization led to the emergence of long-repressed nationalist movements and ethnic disputes within the diverse republics of the Soviet Union. The Revolutions of 1989 led to the fall of the socialist states allied to the Soviet Union and increased pressure on Gorbachev to introduce greater democracy and autonomy for the Soviet Union's constituent republics. Under Gorbachev's leadership, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union subsequently introduced direct elections, formed a new central legislature and ended its ban on political parties. Although a March 1991 referendum showed a large majority of Soviet citizens voting to retain the Union, its legitimacy was marred by a boycott from the Baltic republics. The legislatures of the Soviet republics began passing laws undermining the control of the central government and endorsing independence.
The increasing political unrest led the conservative establishment of the Soviet military and the Communist Party to attempt a coup d'état to oust Gorbachev and re-establish an authoritarian and strong central regime in August 1991. Although foiled by popular agitation led by Boris Yeltsin, then the president of the Russian SFSR, the coup attempt led to heightened fears that the reforms would be reversed, and most of the constituent republics began declaring outright independence. On December 8, 1991 the presidents of the Soviet republics of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus met secretly and agreed to dissolve the Soviet Union, replacing it with a loose, voluntary form of union known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. Two weeks later, 11 of the remaining 12 republics signed a protocol formally establishing the CIS and declaring that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. Increasingly powerless in the face of events, Gorbachev resigned from his office on December 25, and the Soviet Union formally ended its existence the next day. In international law, Russia was recognized as the successor state of the Soviet Union, and took complete possession of its arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The Revolutions of 1989 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to the end of decades-long hostility between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, which had been the defining feature of the Cold War. In the countries of the former USSR, the outcomes of the dissolution were mixed. Although the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia established democratic systems of government, Ukraine, Belarus and the Central Asian republics saw the retention of authoritarian rulers. Russia underwent a period of political instability and economic decline before achieving stability and economic growth during the presidency of Vladimir Putin.
Even as independent nations, the former Soviet republics have retained close links with Russia and formed multilateral organizations such as the Eurasian Economic Community, the Union State, the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and the Eurasian Union to enhance economic and security cooperation.

Soviet Republics

Armenian SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic)
Azerbaijan SSR
Byelorussian SSR
Estonian SSR
Georgian SSR
Kazakh SSR
Kyrgyz SSR
Latvian SSR
Lithuanian SSR
Moldavian SSR
Russian SFSR (Soviet Federal Socialist Republic)
Tajik SSR
Turkmen SSR
Ukrainian SSR
Uzbek SSR

Independent Countries
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Soviet Union
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Estonia
Georgia
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Moldova
Russia
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
Uzbekistan
Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_the_Soviet_Union
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union

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