1991: The Chronicle of Independence

Society
August 25, 1991 Belarus became independent. This was preceded by centuries of struggle of generations of Belarusians for freedom of their homeland.

In the new year, Radio Liberty suggests to offer a series of programs with the story of those individuals, the processes and events that led to the declaration of independence, with the analysis done for twenty years in culture, economics, international relations and other fields. Today, we recall some of the main events of 1991, when Belarus has appeared on the map of Europe as an independent state.

January 1. According to the decree of the USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev becomes effective the 5 percent sales tax (in fact all prices and services rose by 5 percent).

Rally at the Lithuanian Parliament, 14 January 1991

January 13. The Soviet armed forces and the KGB stormed the television center in Vilnius. On the same day the opposition BNF receives a statement in support of Lithuania's independence. Condemned the actions of the Kremlin stands Vasil Bykov. At the request of the opposition deputies BNF Supreme Council discusses situation in Lithuania. In Vilnius sent two delegations of deputies — from the Supreme Council and of the parliamentary opposition.

BSSR Supreme Council condemned the use of force against the civilian population of Lithuania.

January 20. As a result of actions by the Soviet troops in Riga killed several civilians. 84 deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian SSR Parliament expressed support for the Baltic countries and asked to send official representatives of the United Nations Security Council in Latvia and Lithuania.

January 22. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed a decree liquidating the 50 — and 100-ruble notes. On the exchange (no more than 1,000 rubles per person) is given for three days. The decision was not coordinated with the parliaments and governments of the Union republics, and led to a dramatic impoverishment of a large part of the population.

The Supreme Council. Chairperson of the opposition Popular Front Zenon Pozniak.

February 23. In Belarus arrives Soviet President and General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Mikhail Gorbachev. He visits the Supreme Council, but refuses to answer questions from MPs for help in the elimination of the Chernobyl disaster. In the Belorussian Academy Gorbachev made a speech in which affirms the need to preserve the Soviet Union and faithful Leninist ideology. Gorbachev visits the area affected by the Chernobyl accident.

Article about being in Minsk Mikhail Gorbachev, the newspaper Vitebsk Courier

March 17. In the Soviet Union (with the exception of Armenia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Estonia) is initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev's referendum on the preservation of the USSR. According to official figures, 82.7 percent of voters expressed positive. The opposition BNF finds a violation of the law on the referendum, and notes that opponents of preserving the Soviet Union did not have the opportunity to campaign in the media.

April 2. Prime Minister of the USSR Valentin Pavlov raises the prices of basic goods and food three times.

Strikers in front of Government House, April 3, 1991

3-25 April. Working in Minsk Electrotechnical Plant cover the tram on the street. Davgabrodkay, protesting against the increase in prices. They are supported by workers from other factories. Tens of thousands of people flocking to the Government House, begins a spontaneous rally. From the economic demands of the workers are moving to the political, among them — "to immediately begin implementation of the Declaration on State Sovereignty." "Suspend payments from the state to the Union budget," "not to sign a treaty of alliance before the adoption of the Constitution of the sovereign Belarus", "immediately nationalize the property of KPB-Party." Republican kicks off a strike that lasts several weeks. On behalf of the negotiations with the strike committee is the first deputy chairman of the Supreme Council of S.Shushkevich (Chairman of the Armed Forces M. Dementey sick). Manual sun and the Council of Ministers refused to meet the demands of the strikers. Working in Orsha cover rail traffic. Proposal opposition deputies BNF immediately convene an extraordinary session of the sun in addressing the requirements of the Presidium of the sun strike is not accepted.

April 27. In the House of Writers BNF holds the "People's Tribunal" in the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It is stated that the Communist authorities are responsible for withholding information about the accident and failure to take appropriate measures to eliminate the consequences.

May 5. Directors, heads of trade union committees and the chairman of the strike committee of five of the largest industrial enterprises of Vitebsk appeal to the Supreme Council, demanding "give the Declaration of Sovereignty of a constitutional nature."

The meeting room Sun In the center — deputy Valentin Golubev and Sergei Popkov

May 21. Begins the fourth session of the Supreme Soviet of the BSSR 12th convocation. Most of the deputies refused to include in the agenda items proposed by the opposition Popular Front of giving the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the constitutional status of a coalition government of national trust and the requirements put forward by participants of April strikes.

June 12.
The Supreme Soviet of the BSSR vote for the proposed signing of the Union Treaty, Mikhail Gorbachev. Opposition deputies oppose the BNF.

Oval Hall, Chairperson of the Interim Committee G. Vechersky

The Supreme Council is discussing the report of the Interim Commission on assessing the actions of armed forces officers and other officials in connection with the liquidation of the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

July 5.
German Chancellor Helmut Kohl — Mikhail Gorbachev: "It is important to avoid actions that would create the feeling of being in the West that the Soviet Union was about to collapse on a conglomerate of separate republics."

July 30.
U.S. President George W. Bush — Mikhail Gorbachev: "Do not intend to support separatism."

August 14.
Moscow newspaper "Izvestia" reported that the signing of the Union Treaty, scheduled for August 20 in Moscow. Opposition deputies BNF put in print an open letter to M. Dementei, noting that the text is not modified by the Supreme Council. "You seek to conclude an agreement on the fate of Belarus without passing all required examinations in such cases, discussions and decisions … Actually it is the signing of a new, colonial agreement for Belarus."

The draft statement of oppositi
on MPs BNF, August 19, 1991 (S. Navumchyk archive)

Rally August 19, 1991 Deputy Speaker Alexander Sasnou

August 19. In Moscow, "State Emergency Committee" ("Emergency Committee") states that the President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev unable to perform his duties for health reasons. Leaders of the Central Committee of the PBC, headed by the first secretary of the A. Malafeeva expressed support for the coup. Six members of opposition BNF go to M. Dementei and need to link them with Gorbachev. Dementey refuses and says that "Gorbachev psychologically exhausted." Opposition deputies declare the unconstitutionality of CCHR and evaluate his education as an attempt to preserve the Soviet empire by establishing a military dictatorship. Opposition deputies call for citizens as well as the chairman of the Council of Ministers V. Kebich, KGB Chairman E. Shirkovskogo and Interior Minister Vladimir Yegorov decision not to implement the Emergency Committee and require an extraordinary session of the Supreme Council. 31 deputies of the Minsk City Council directs Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow telegram of support. In Moscow, Russian President Boris Yeltsin declares nekanstytutsyynasts coup. Around the building of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR (the "White House"), thousands of people gather. In the evening, the BNF holds a rally in front of Government House, involving several hundred people.

The picture from the newspaper Svoboda

August 20.The claim of the opposition deputies to convene an extraordinary session of the Belarusian Popular Front Sun joined by other MPs, but at 13 hours 20 minutes collected only 33 signatures (for the convening of the session to 120). Room 363 of the Government House, which brings together members of the Opposition, is transformed into the headquarters of resistance to the coup, here come the deputies of local councils, democracy activists, telegrams received from different regions of Belarus. Kept constant communication with the Secretariat of the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin. In the evening, the square in front of Government House BNF gathers for a rally a few thousand people.

August 21.
The number of deputies aircraft requiring the convening of an extraordinary session, increasing to 82's (among them — S.Shushkevich, Alexander Lukashenko). On the square in front of Government House BNF holds rally. In the evening, it is reported that the coup failed, Gorbachev returned to Moscow.

Application opposition deputies BNF August 23, 1991

August 22. Presidium of the Supreme forced to convene an extraordinary session, to be held in a single day, August 24. MPs propose to take only two decisions — "On the Current Situation" and "On the Union Treaty." Opposition MPs BPF release their proposals, among them — giving the Declaration of Sovereignty of the constitutional status.

August 23. On the night of 22 to August 23 BNF MPs led by Z. Pazniak prepare fifteen legislative provisions for the declaration and the strengthening of the independence of Belarus. Proposals sent to the secretariat of the Supreme Council. Opposition deputies seek BNF live performances of the Belarusian TV. They urge people to come to the morning of 24 August to the Government House to support the claim on the proclamation of independence of Belarus and to ban the Communist Party, the CPB.

The people in front of Government House, August 24, 1991

Valentin Golubev, Zenon Pozniak Golubovic and Olga, 24 August 1991

August 24. On the square in front of Government House gathered tens of thousands of citizens. At 9:30 begins an extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet. In the Oval Hall entered the white-red-white flag. Z. Pozniak raises the question of the responsibility of the chairman VS M. Dementei and Bureau of the Sun, who supported the coup, and suggests that the session led the first deputy chairman of the S.Shushkevich. The deputies rounded up to the podium the first secretary of the Central Committee of the PBC A. Malafeeva, who supported the coup. The issue of giving the Declaration of Sovereignty of the constitutional powers be included in the agenda of the session.

The deputies are driven from the rostrum of the 1st Secretary of the Central Committee of the PBC Malofeeva

August 25. On the square in front of Government House once again to the call of the opposition Popular Front members — tens of thousands of people. At the session the sun decided to suspend the activities of the PBC-Committee. Ad-hoc Committee on Armed Forces led by the deputy Igor flutter on the evaluation of the members of the Emergency Committee and the socio-political entities, public authorities, officials and citizens who supported them. Nicholas Dementey resigns, acting chairman Stanislav Shushkevich done. The deputy Alexander Lukashenko against giving the Declaration of Sovereignty of the constitutional status and warns that in the case of the declaration of independence "Belarus may be in the economic and political isolation of Russia and the other republics." The word takes Z. Pozniak, who warns MPs against excessive euphoria about Yeltsin — "I doubt the democratic character of the future of Russia," accuses Moscow of oil blackmail and said that "if we do not have a state of independence, we can not resist this policy . And it will be, and will be sure. " After the speech, Pozniak the constitutionality of the Declaration put to the vote.

At 20 hours 08 minutes tabla vote in the Oval Hall vysvechvae figure: "for" — 253 deputies (for positive solutions required 232 votes). On the square in front of Government House is a rally.

The article in the Banner of youth abuse regulations sun to suspend the activities of the PBC-CPSU, August 1991

August 26.A group of deputies Aazytsyi BNF visited the building of the Central Committee of the PBC. It turns out that, nyagledychy a Supreme Council to suspend the activities of the PBC-CPSU, in the office of the First Secretary of the Central Committee are working Malafeev and other functionaries of the Communist Party. After the visit, members are forced to leave the building.

Zvezda newspaper, August 27, 1991

August 27. The newspaper "The Star" is a headline on the front page: "Belarus — Independence".
 

Message from opposition deputies BNF. The People's Newspaper, August 30, 1991

August 30. "People's Newspaper" publishing the statement of opposition deputies BNF Pazniak led by former members of the Communist Party and the Young Communist Leagu
e. MPs urge them to constructive action and offer included "in the democratic process in the free movement of revival of the sovereign Belarus. Our cultural, moderate, democratic homeland and no one should not pursue a person just for being a member of the Communist Party and the Young Communist League."

September 3.
Poland recognizes the independence of the Byelorussian SSR.

Minsk City Council adopts a resolution on the need to return the Belarusian capital of the historic name of "Minsk".

September 6.
The Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union recognizes the independence of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

From the microphone acts deputy Igor Germenchuk

September 15. It starts with an extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet. On the demand of the opposition Popular Front in the agenda included a question about the new symbols. In the foyer of the House of Deputies for the government to make an exhibition dedicated to the national historic symbol. To the position of chairman of the Supreme claim Stanislav Shushkevich and Vyacheslav Kebich.

September 19. The Supreme Council shall adopt a white-red-white flag and coat of arms "Pursuit" as a state symbols, as well as the new name of the country — the Republic of Belarus. Stanislav Shushkevich was elected the chairman of the Supreme Council.

October 12-13.
At the conference, the Belarusian Popular Front "Independence and Revival" discusses models of government of Belarus and confirmed by the undesirability of introducing the country as president. Offers are transferred to the Supreme Council.

The Supreme Council. The MPs Nicholas and Alexander Jester Kryzhanovsky.

November 9. The opposition Popular Front in the Supreme Soviet adopts a statement which states that the Declaration of Sovereignty is not satisfied in full. It is noted that the country is losing time, that instead of building the institutions of statehood top leaders of Belarus (S.Shushkevich and B. Kebich) was involved in, initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev, "Novo-Ogarevo process" to create a confederation. The opposition Popular Front reaffirms the need to introduce their own money to create an independent army from Moscow.

November 25. In Novo-Ogaryovo near Moscow, USSR State Council is going to discuss the draft Union Treaty. "I am a supporter of the union state" — says it S.Shushkevich.

December 1, 1991. In Ukraine there is a referendum on the support of the "Act of Independence of Ukraine." 90.32 percent "yes" votes.

Oval Room. At the microphone — deputies Leonti Zdanevich, Zenon Pozniak and Nicholas Kryzhanovsky

December 4. Most of the members of the Supreme Council, despite protests from opposition deputies BNF support the position of chairman of the Supreme S.Shushkevich and in favor of signing a treaty of alliance.

December 5.
At the invitation of the deputies of the Supreme Council of the Belarusian Popular Front S.Shushkevich attends meeting of opposition Belarusian Popular Front, which was in favor of the signing of the Union Treaty and against the creation of a private army, "You and I have different views on freedom and democracy. Regarding union contract — let me not get under your banner Army … (in Belarus) is never produced. "

, Leonid Kravchuk and Stanislav Shushkevich, Boris Yeltsin, December 9, 1991

December 8. In Belarus arrive, Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk. Yeltsin speaks to members of the Supreme Council. In the evening, in Viskuli Boris Yeltsin, Leonid Kravchuk and Stanislav Shushkevich state that the Soviet Union ceased to exist, and declare the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

December 11.
The Supreme Soviet of Belarus ratifies "Belovezhskie agreement." One member voted against — the former secretary of the Central Committee of the PBC Valery Tikhinya.

December 21.
In Alma-Ata gather leaders of former Soviet republics. As part of the Belarusian delegation — S.Shushkevich, V. Kebich, P. Kravchenko. Z. Pozniak. By CIS joined by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova. Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Stanislav Shushkevich without the consent of the other members of the Belarusian delegation agrees with the proposal to recognize Yeltsin's Russia successor of the USSR in the UN Security Council and the owner of nuclear weapons, which, in the opinion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Peter Kravchenko, deprived Minsk "bargaining chips in negotiations with Russia on the division of property of the former Union" .

December 23.
The leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, Zhirinovsky is trying to get to the Supreme Soviet of Belarus, but his deputies descend the stairs.

Gorbachev read on the air resignation, December 25, 1991

December 25. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigns. United States recognizes the independence of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine.

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