CHAPTER 20 NATIONAL REVIVAL. THE COLLAPSE OF THE USSR THE EMERGENCE OF THE FIFTEEN INDEPENDENT REPUBLICS

The Armenian government too was for the dissolution of unofficial military formations, but they wanted to avoid bloodshed and reach that aim, through peaceful methods. The collapse of the Soviet Union was caused in a great measure by nationalism, i.e. by the demands of the subject nationalities of the USSR for independence and autonomy. By the fall of 1988 Estonians and Lithuanians had founded mass popular fronts. On November 16 Estonia declared itself a sovereign republic.

When in 1989 Soviet troops crushed the demonstration Of Tbilisi calling for Georgian independence, and when in the next year the Soviet army was used in Fergana (armed mediation in the interethnic fighting), in Azerbaijan, Dushambe, Osh, the reaction among the democratic forces made it impossible for the Kremlin to use armed force again against national movements. By the end of 1990, unified in their hostility to the Kremlin authority, the eleven union republics (from fifteen) and most of the autonomous republics had declared themselves sovereign, in several cases independent states. The Supreme soviets of the republics’ had decreed their right of separation from the jurisdiction of the USSR. The presidential decrees could not be enforced locally. Probably the Armenian enclave of Karabakh set an example for the others, transforming Gorbachov’s efforts at state building into a liberating process of state dismantling and confirming the fact that it was “possible to take such a step in the mightiest USSR”.

The Udmurd Autonomous Region, declared itself Republic of Udmurdia. The emergency session of its parliament adopted and confirmed that status. The same status was obtained by Tatarstan, which was prominantly Russian. The Russian Federation agreed to such changes within its borders, as the internal autonomous status would give an impetus to the economical development of those regions and of the Federation in general.

The Russian dissident wrote;

“And at last the ethnic minorities – Nenets, Evenek, Mans, Khakassian, Chukchi, Koriak, its difficult to innumerate them all. They all succeeded living in the Tsarist “prisonhouse of nations” and are being abolished by us – by the Communist Soviet Union. Our officials did them tremendous harm, and our beastly industry brought death and poison to their land, depriving them of a firm base, of life, and their number is so small, that they can’t even struggle for their existence. We must hurry to save them, give them life. Not everything is lost yet. All the minorities are the result of the creative power of God. And as Bladimir Soloviov says in his own commandment “Love all the nationalities, as you love your own nation. It’s the time to choose higher forms of statehood, based on mercy and not egoism”.11

On September 22, 1990 as if on the call of the great Russian writer, publicist, political dealer, Nobel Prize winner Selzhenitsin, the representatives of different ethnical-territorial formation met in a Congress in Moscow. Two hundred and six delegates, representing 43 nationalities and 106 ethnical political movements had arrived from the 34 autonomous republics, regions, districts. Most of them were deputies to the Supreme Soviet, elected by the people of the Autonomous formations.

The report of the TASS news agency;

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