Message from the President of the USSR to the people, who have all been waiting for started at 19 PM Moscow time and was shown live on the Central TV.
“Dear compatriots! Fellow citizens! Due to the current situation
education of the Commonwealth of Independent States, I cease
activity on a post of the President of the USSR. Take this decision
a matter of principle”, — said Gorbachev.
He stated that he supports the independence of Nations and for
the sovereignty of the republics, but it is believed that it is necessary to keep the Federal government.
“Events took a different path. The prevailing line on the dismemberment of the country and separation of state, with which I cannot agree. And after the Alma-ATA meeting and the decisions made my position on this matter has not changed. Moreover, I am convinced that decisions of such scale would have to be based on people’s will. However, I will do everything in my possibilities to make agreements that are signed there, have led to real accord in the society, facilitate exit from the crisis and the reform process”. The Appeal Of Mikhail Gorbachev. 25 Dec 1991
In his address, Gorbachev tried to summarize the path that the country has gone under his leadership since 1985. He noted the following points.
- Eliminated the totalitarian system, “and deprived the country of the ability long ago to become wealthy and prosperous”.
- A breakthrough on the path of democratic reforms. Real steel free elections, freedom of the press, religious freedom, representative governments, multiparty democracy.
- Began the movement towards a mixed economy, affirms the equality of all forms of ownership.
- Finished with the cold war, stopped the arms race and the insane militarization of the country, “mutilated our economy, public consciousness and morals”.
- The people, the nation got a real freedom to choose the path your self.
The transfer of the nuclear button
Immediately after the televised address, Gorbachev signed the decree about resignation of the Supreme commander of the Soviet Union and gave the right to the use of nuclear weapons to Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
Passed formally because Yeltsin himself to this ceremony was not. “I was told that the Russian President is dissatisfied with my performance, is outraged and refuses to come, as we agreed, at the appointed time. Offers to meet “in a neutral place,” wrote Gorbachev in his memoirs.
Immediately after this, the technical procedure for the transfer of the nuclear suitcase was the Minister of defense of the Soviet Union Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, who will perform the duties of the Supreme commander until December 30, 1991, when Minsk will host the next meeting of the heads of States of the CIS.
“Any other procedures wires of the President of the Union, as is customary in
civilized countries, was not. No President of a sovereign
of the States of the former Soviet republics, although most of them I was bound many years of close and friendly relations, has not found it possible not only to arrive on these days in Moscow, but didn’t call me.” Mikhail Gorbachev, “December 91”
Russia in the UN
25 day of December, Russia ceased to be socialist — the Parliament of the Republic decided that the official name becomes Russia (Russian Federation). The abbreviation RSFSR gone. before the vote, the head of the Supreme Council Ruslan Khasbulatov said that the appropriate changes should be made to the Constitution of the Republic, but offered to do it later.
On the same day the Soviet Union ceased to be a member of the UN, yielding its place to Russia. Ambassador to the UN, Yuli Vorontsov, gave the representative of the Secretary-General of the organization message from the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin, which stated that “the membership of the Soviet Union continues now the Russian Federation,” and that instead of the name “Soviet Union” should now use the phrase “the Russian Federation”.
One of the main issues in the relations with the UN was the size of the contributions which every year must pay the participating countries of the organization. The parties agreed that this issue can be revisited in the summer when it will be clear what will be the economic situation in the country.
Lowering the flag
At 19:38 Moscow time, an event occurred that is considered to be the end of the 79-year history of the Soviet Union. After just a few minutes after the treatment of Gorbachev from the flagpole over the Kremlin was lowered a red Soviet flag, and his place was taken by the Russian tricolor.
The foreign press
- “The West may be mourning the departure of the great and the enlightened Titan in history, but, if to look from Moscow, Mr. Gorbachev was at best a visionary, but a goofy do-gooder in the worst case — a gangster of the old order, which has not the courage to knock down the creaking but functional old system in shape.” (The Times)
- “Russian flag flying over the Kremlin. In this symbolic moment, the camera grabs in Moscow the night the tops of the Golden domes, showing that the Union really is dead… the date could not be chosen better. It will be easy to remember. It was Christmas 1991”. (Le Monde)
- “Without Mikhail Gorbachev’s Moscow is not the same as before. There is a sense of aimlessness. One leader is gone, but the new leader actually has not come yet. In part, Boris Yeltsin was who he was because of his battle with Mr Gorbachev. Now there is no longer half of the events. Whether this will facilitate traffic, when the police now have remained only care about single motorcade of black limousines?” (The Times)
- “It was not in Moscow, nor joy, nor grief, as in those cases when the inevitable happens. In a 12-minute televised speech, announcing his resignation, Gorbachev admitted the final death of the USSR: “the collapse”, as he lamented, “the great state”. (Le Monde)
Other news of the day
- Four of the six republics of Yugoslavia — Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina addressed to the European community with a request to recognize their independence.
- Turkey established official diplomatic relations with Russia.
- Russian President Boris Yeltsin asked the mayor of Moscow Gavriil Popov not to resign from his post.
- The agreement on creation of the CIS was ratified by the Supreme Soviet of Tajikistan.
- The head of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev at the session of the Republican Parliament, said that his Republic intends to join the CIS.
- The son of Kim Il sung and his appointed successor, Kim Jong-Il became the Supreme commander of the DPRK.