Union of Sovereign States

The Soviet Republics which drafted the New Union Treaty (orange and dark red) and the non-participating republics (black).
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The Union of Sovereign States (Russian: Сою́з Сувере́нных Госуда́рств ; Soyuz Suverennykh Gosudarstv ) was the proposed name of a reorganization of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics into a new confederal entity. Proposed by the then President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, the proposal was an attempt to avert the collapse of the Soviet Union. The proposal was never implemented in the wake of the August 1991 Coup and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December of that year. The overall proposal was resurrected as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), although as a regional organization, not a confederation.

The New Union Treaty (Russian: Новый союзный договор) was a draft treaty that would have replaced the 1922 Treaty on the Creation of the USSR and thus would have replaced the Soviet Union with a new entity named the Union of Sovereign States, an attempt of Mikhail Gorbachev to salvage and reform the Soviet state. A ceremony of the Russian SFSR signing the treaty was scheduled for 20 August 1991, but was prevented by the August Coup a day earlier. The preparation of this treaty was known as the Novo-Ogarevo process (новоогаревский процесс), named after Novo-Ogaryovo, a governmental estate where the work on the document was carried out and where Gorbachev talked with leaders of Union republics.

A less centralized federal system was proposed by President Gorbachev during the Communist Party Congress of July 1990. A draft of the New Union Treaty was submitted to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union on November 23, 1990. A drafting committee started work on the text on January 1, 1991. Six of the fifteen Soviet republics, however, did not participate in drafting of the treaty: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Georgia and Armenia. The proposal was approved by the Soviet of the Union on March 6 and sent to the Supreme Soviets of the republics for approval. Agreement could not be reached on the distribution of power between the Union and the Republics and the proposal was not approved. As an additional restrictive element, some autonomous republics expressed the desire to raise their status and to be a party to the new Soviet treaty.

President Gorbachev tried to gain popular support for the proposal. On March 17, 1991, a popular referendum was held in the nine republics (Russian SFSR, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kirghizia, Turkmenia, and Tajikistan) which participated in the drafting of the treaty. In the referendum 76% of voters supported maintaining the federal system of the Soviet Union, including a majority in all of the nine republics. Opposition was greatest in large cities like Saint Petersburg (then Leningrad) and Moscow. The referendum was mostly boycotted in the other six republics as they were already moving towards independence.

An agreement between the Soviet central government and the nine republics, the so-called "9+1" agreement, was finally signed in Novo-Ogaryovo on April 23. The New Union Treaty would have converted the Soviet Union into a federation of independent republics with a common president, foreign policy, and military.

By August, eight of the nine republics, except Ukraine, approved the draft of the new Treaty with some conditions. Ukraine did not agree on the terms of the Treaty. In the republican referendum on March 17, the majority of residents of Ukraine supported joining the Union on the terms of Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine.

This page was last edited on 19 February 2018, at 09:23.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Sovereign_States under CC BY-SA license.

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