Key 1991 document declaring Soviet Union defunct is missing from archives

February 17, 2013

International, Remember yesteryear

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Союз Советских Социалистических Республик -CCCP
The Soviet Union lasted from 1922 to 1991

Key 1991 document declaring Soviet Union defunct is missing from archives

Yuras Karmanau
Associated Press

MINSK, Belarus – The powerful Soviet Union may still exist after all — at least on paper.

Former Belarusian leader Stanislav Shushkevich says a historic 1991 document that proclaimed the death of the Soviet Union is missing from the archives.

Shushkevich discovered that the document was gone while working on his memoirs. He said he believes it was stolen — possibly by a former Belarusian official — probably with the intention of selling it to a collector.

“It’s hard to believe the disappearance of a document at such a level, but this is a fact,” Shushkevich told The Associated Press.
Officials with Belarus’ government and the Russia-dominated alliance of ex-Soviet nations confirmed late Wednesday that they only have copies.

“We don’t know where the original is,” said Vasily Ostreiko, the head of the archive department of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which has its headquarters in Minsk, the Belarusian capital. “We have a copy of that document. It’s certified in line with international standards, but it’s still a copy.”

The document’s disappearance reflects the chaos that surrounded the 1991 demise of the Soviet Union, a superpower of 300 million people that sprawled over nearly a dozen time zones and encompassed what is now 15 nations.

On Dec. 8, 1991, Shushkevich hosted Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk for secret talks at a government hunting lodge near Viskuli in the Belovezha Forest. The trio signed a deal declaring that “the U.S.S.R. has ceased to exist as a subject of international law and geopolitical reality” — defeating Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts to hold the Soviet Union together.

The agreement also announced the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance joined by nine other Soviet republics that month.

Gorbachev resigned on Dec. 25, 1991, and the Soviet Communist empire that ruled with an iron fist for almost 70 years ceased to exist.
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USSR

USSR

Video: Document declaring Soviet Union’s breakup ‘missing’ from archives

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Video: The final hours of the U.S.S.R.

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Video: 1991 The fall of the U.S.S.R.  August 19, 1991
The end of the Soviet Union

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Video: Vladimir Lenin and his death
Premier of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death January 21, 1924

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Video: Vladimir Lenin
Moscow tomb repair December 2012

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Video: Joseph Stalin- December 1952
Leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953

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