The dissolution of the Soviet Union marked the end of an era in world history. The Soviet Union had been a major superpower for much of the 20th century, and its collapse had significant ramifications for international politics and economics. But what exactly was the agreement that ended the Soviet Union?
The agreement in question is known as the Belavezha Accords. It was signed on December 8, 1991, by the leaders of three of the Soviet Union`s constituent republics: Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation, Leonid Kravchuk of Ukraine, and Stanislav Shushkevich of Belarus. The agreement effectively dissolved the Soviet Union and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as a replacement.
The Belavezha Accords were signed in a hunting lodge in Belarus, hence the name. The leaders of the three republics had been meeting there to discuss the future of the Soviet Union, as it had become clear that the central government in Moscow was no longer able to exert control over the various republics. The decision to dissolve the Soviet Union was made in secret, without the knowledge or involvement of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
The Belavezha Accords declared the Soviet Union “as a subject of international law and a geopolitical reality” to be extinct. It transferred the powers of the Soviet Union to the newly formed CIS, which was initially composed of ten of the 15 former Soviet republics. The CIS was established with the goal of coordinating economic and political policies among the member states, but it did not have the same level of centralization that the Soviet Union had.
The Belavezha Accords were met with mixed reactions. Yeltsin, the leader of the largest and most powerful republic, was widely seen as the driving force behind the agreement. He was praised by many in Russia for taking bold action to end the Soviet Union`s long decline. However, others criticized the manner in which the decision was made, arguing that it was done without the input or approval of the Soviet people.
Despite the controversy surrounding the Belavezha Accords, they marked a significant turning point in world history. The end of the Soviet Union had far-reaching effects on international relations, from the rise of Russian oligarchs to the introduction of market economies in the former Soviet republics. The agreement may not have been perfect, but it was a necessary step towards a new era of global politics and economics.