Treaty on the Creation of the USSR

The Treaty on the Creation of the USSR officially created the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), commonly known as the Soviet Union. It de jure legalized a union of several Soviet republics that had existed since 1919 and created a new centralized federal government (Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union and Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union (TsIK) were the legislative while Council of People's Commissars was the executive) where key functions were centralized in Moscow.

The Treaty along with the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR was approved on December 29, 1922 by a conference of delegations from the Russian SFSR, the Transcaucasian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR. The Treaty and the Declaration were confirmed by the 1st Congress of Soviets of the USSR and signed by heads of delegations[1]  – Mikhail Kalinin, Mikhail Tskhakaya, Mikhail Frunze and Grigory Petrovsky, Aleksandr Chervyakov[2] respectively on December 30, 1922. The treaty provided flexibility to admit new members. Therefore, by 1940 the Soviet Union grew from the founding four republics to 15 republics.

On December 8, 1991, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian Presidents signed the Belavezha Accords. The agreement declared dissolution of the USSR by its founder states (denunciation of 1922 Treaty on the Creation of the USSR) and established the CIS. On December 10, the accord was ratified by the Ukrainian and Belarusian parliaments. On December 12, the agreement was ratified by the Russian Parliament, therefore Russian SFSR renounced the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR and de facto declared Russia's independence from the USSR.

On December 26, 1991, the USSR was self-dissolved by the Council of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, a house of Soviet parliament (the second house, the Soviet of the Union was without a quorum).

The Treaty was a result of many internal political conflicts within the Bolshevik Party and governments inside the Union. Initially Vladimir Lenin did not see that Russia's October Revolution would end all foreign borders as such. This view was supported by Leon Trotsky and his followers, who believed that Russia was only a first step in a future world revolution. However, as the Red Army approached former internal national and foreign borders, it needed an excuse to cross them. One such method was a creation of an alternative government, a Soviet Republic, that would then take over authority as the Red Army ousted the existing government. This was the case with Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and failed campaigns such as in the Baltic States and Poland. Alternatively it would use the presence of a minority to undermine the standing army (such as the establishment Tatar and Bashkir autonomies), and where there was no national minority, a government based on geographical locale – Far Eastern Republic, Turkestan.

However, the Red Army's ultimate failure in the Polish campaign placed Trotsky's World Revolution plans on hold. Simultaneously the growing figure of Joseph Stalin pursued a different agenda. Lenin himself saw the creation of national republics as a permanent feature in line with his korenizatsiya policies. In spring of 1922, Lenin suffered his first stroke, and Stalin, still being a People's Commissar for Nationalities gained a new official chair as the General Secretary of the Communist Party.

Stalin argued that now that the Russian Civil War had concluded and that war communism was now replaced by the New Economic Policy, it required a country whose legal de jure framework would match its de facto one, and re-organizing the Bolshevik state into a single sovereign entity. This included liquidating the many splinter Soviet governments and restoring supreme rule to Moscow.

This line went directly in conflict with both proponents of korenizatsiya and some of the local governments, most notably in Ukraine (opposition of Christian Rakovsky) and Georgia (Georgian Affair). Thus the treaty can be viewed as a compromise between the different groups within the Bolshevik camp, to satisfy the aspirations of large minorities (the named examples of Georgia and Ukraine) and to allow for potential expansion, as well. Byelorussia was the smallest republic, yet its official languages included Polish and Yiddish in addition to Russian and Belarusian to undermine the authority of the neighbouring Second Polish Republic and to use its sizeable Jewish minority, as well as the Belarusians and Ukrainians in Poland as a future fifth column. At the same time, it created a new centralized federal government where key functions would clearly be in the hands of Moscow.

This page was last edited on 8 July 2018, at 17:28 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

Related Topics

Recently Viewed