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The forgotten referendum 17.03.1991

Reader comment on item: Turkey: An Ally No More
in response to reader comment: continuing a sub-plot - peppered examples of excess from another non-religious kind totalitarian system.

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Nov 21, 2009 at 18:26

Hi, my friend from Kafirstan!

"The funny thing in all of that is that the USSR all those nationalists hate when it died was not Stalin's or even Brezhnev's bad USSR. It was a benign Soviet Union of Michail Gorbachov. But who'd care about chronology and details in this metaphysical tragi-comic hysteria of anti-communism ?"

> So, the dissolution of the USSR (the greatest tragey of the 20thC as Putin puts it) was a fait accompli once they relaxed their tight grip?<

On the 17th of March 1991 there was an (almost) all-Union referendum where most voters voted for the preservation of the USSR. Curiously enough, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania and Armenia all banned the referendum on their territories. Somehow they pre-sensed correctly the results would hardly confirm their jingoistic self-righteous political dogmatism.

To the last moment Gorbachov was working hard to get a new Union Treaty signed. The Treaty was ready, the core republics – Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine and all the Central Asiatic republics were in its favour. But the West (i.e. the US and its allies) wanted no renewed USSR. It wanted to partition and exploit the former USSR and through Yeltzin – the notorious drunkard and political fraudster – and its own intrigues, false promises, lies and illusory forecasts they achieved what they wanted.

What I say is opposite to your opinion which seems though to copy the official Western version of what happened which however hardly corresponds to the facts on the ground as expressed by the referendum and its results. But forgotten, suppressed and incongruous things like the referendum on the preservation of the USSR I find to be more revealing and valuable than official repetitions and assertions.

Now some details on this referendum never shown on the Western radar. In the referendum participated out of 185,6 mln citizens with a voting right 148,5 mln people, i.e. 79,5%. Out of this number 113,5% mln (76,43%) voted for preserving the renewed USSR! And the results were as follows :

Soviet Republics

Participated in the referendum %

Out of them voted for the preservation of the Soviet Union %

Russia

75,4

71,3

Ukraine

83,5

70,2

Belorussia

83,3

82,7

Uzbekistan

95,4

93,7

Kasakhstan

88,2

94,1

Azerbaijan

75,1

45,1

Kirgistan

92,9

96,4

Tajikistan

94,4

96,2

Turkmenistan

97,7

97,9

Interestingly enough, the Russian Parliament decreed on that occasion that 'the decision arrived by dint of the referendum on the future of the USSR is final and obligatory and can be changed or cancelled only through another referendum".

All of that hardly supports your implied optimistic view that "the dissolution of the USSR ...was a fait accompli once they relaxed their tight grip". Quite the contrary, the dissolution was a fait accompli when they disregarded the will of the people, cheated the people and tightened their grip on the public opinion and the society as a whole to promote their particular interests in the newly created principalities they called 'independent states'. By 'they' I mean the Soviet power elite -the old nomenclatura - that got rid of the central controlling power to enjoy its power without so many restrictions and risks existing previously.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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