|“Signing the Agreement to eliminate the USSR and establish the Commonwealth of Independent States”.|
Viskuly Government House in the Belorusian National Park "Belovezhskaya Forest".
U.Ivanov/Ю.Иванов - RIA Novosti; from Wikipedia.
My personal feeling does not principally differ from that of our President Putin; I do think this was a real geopolitical catastrophe. It led to hundreds of thousands of deaths both from firearms and starvation. Aftershocks of this catastrophe are still shaking the world, but this is not that the very point I'd like to talk about.
I'd like to remind one event that took place about 9 months before Belovezha, namely, on March 17, 1991.
|Voting paper of March 17, 1991 referendum.|
There was a referendum on the future of the USSR, and the question read:
Do you consider necessary the preservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which the rights and freedom of an individual of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?
The total amount of registered voters, that is electorate, was more than 185,6 millions.
Five republics of the USSR, namely Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova (except for Transnistria) and Georgia (except for Abkhazia and South Ossetia) boycotted the referendum.
Nevertheless, more than 148,5 mil. people gave accepted votes, about 80% of registered electorate. 2,7 mil. people more spoiled their papers or left them blank.
There were 32,3 mil. votes (22,2%) against the Soviet Union, and 113,5 mil. of Soviet citizens (77,8%) voted for. One hundred and thirteen point five million votes. Clear majority.
What is a referendum? Isn't it the absolute way of direct democracy, when people express their will directly? Definitely so; it's way more democratic in comparison, say, to presidential elections in the USA.
If we lived in a truly democratic world, the openly expressed opinion of Soviet people (at least of 10 republics, including Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) should be respected.
Nine months later the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was killed by leaders of three republics that were the very core of the USSR. The fourth biggest and strongest republic of Kazakhstan had nothing to do but to accept the news.
Democracy, you say? Forget about it; it's just a fairy tale for romantic students and popular masses.
P.S.: As for me personally, I was too young then and gave too much weight to my personal opinions, not realizing some of them were artificially created by a heavy anti-Soviet propaganda; I considered the question of referendum wrongly formulated and took the paper with me. Now I feel shame that my vote is missing from those 113,5 mil. votes.
Though I understand it means nothing.