Support The Moscow Times!

Document Declaring U.S.S.R. Dead Missing From Archives

MINSK, Belarus — Former Belarussian leader Stanislav Shushkevich said a historic document that proclaimed the death of the Soviet Union is missing from archives.

Shushkevich discovered that the document was gone while working on his memoirs.

"It's hard to believe in the disappearance of such a high-level document, but this is a fact," Shushkevich said.

He said he believes the document was stolen, probably by someone with intentions of selling it to a collector.

Officials of Belarus and the Commonwealth of Independent States confirmed late Wednesday that they have only copies.

"We don't know where the original is," said Vasily Ostreiko, the head of the archive department of the CIS, which is headquartered in the Belarussian capital.

The agreement's disappearance reflects the chaos that surrounded the Soviet demise.

On Dec. 8, 1991, Shushkevich hosted Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk for secret talks at a government hunting lodge near Viskuli, in the Belovezha Forest.

The trio signed a deal declaring that "the U.S.S.R. has ceased to exist as an entity of international law and geopolitical reality," defeating Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev's attempts to hold the country together.

The agreement also announced the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose alliance joined by nine other Soviet republics later that month. Gorbachev resigned on Dec. 25, 1991.

Related articles:

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more