USSR disappeared 24 years ago, on December 8, 1991


USSR disappeared 24 years ago, on December 8, 1991

The day of 8 December 24 years ago was a landmark in the fate of 250 million people and 15 republics. On that day, in Viskuli, there was signed a document that, in fact, was the verdict of the Soviet state, which occupied the territory equal to one-sixth of the land.

It is noteworthy that not so much is known about the negotiations which took place almost 25 years ago. This makes journalists return again and again to this theme.

Yuri Ivanov, photographer of the Press Agency News (1991):
We thought it would be a new Soviet Union under a different name - the CIS. We thought they would change only the outer look. It turned out to be much more difficult.

Surprisingly, witnesses and participants of the Belovezha agreements, express a version that initially there was no intention to sign the crucial documents. At least on the part of Belarus or Ukraine. But Yeltsin's delegation prepared the "surprise". The very signing was almost spontaneous. Vyacheslav Kebich, at that time the head of the Belarusian government and an opponent of the collapse of the Soviet Union, also put his signature to the Bialowieza documents.

Vyacheslav Kebich, Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus (1991-1994):
I remember when many political figures who were part of Gorbachev's government said to me: "Vyacheslav, remember that the collapse of the Soviet Union will result in a lot of blood." And this was the case. But Belarus after all was able to defend its independence without bloodshed.

At that time the majority of people of the USSR was against the union's collapse. And the politicians were initially to talk about the "reboot" of the Union. The CIS was supposed to become Soviet Union 2.0.  The standoff between Yeltsin and Gorbachev, economic and, above all, an ideological crisis and parades independence.

Leonid Kravchuk, President of Ukraine (1991-1994):
We had to find something in common, because everyone knew that decisions must have been made, otherwise the country could fall apart spontaneously.

According to some witnesses, there was enhanced security presence. Allegedly, there was information that Gorbachev sent group Alpha on helicopters to Viskuli. Now it is not clear where the truth is.

But the truth is that the US president, not president of the USSR, first learned about the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although Gorbachev was phoned first. 

Yuri Ivanov, photographer, Press Agency News (1991):
We all saw it, the first conversation was with the President of the United States. And then there was a call to Gorbachev. We all heard this and this is no mystery.

In 2016, it will be 25 years since the disintegration of the USSR.