Soviet Union referendum, 1991

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Soviet Union referendum, 1991
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?
Results
Yes or no Votes Percentage
Yes check.svg Yes 113,512,812 77.85%
X mark.svg No 32,303,977 22.15%
Valid votes 145,816,789 98.14%
Invalid or blank votes 2,757,817 1.86%
Total votes 148,574,606 100.00%
Voter turnout 80.03%
Electorate 185,647,355
Results by republic
Soviet Union referendum, 1991 results.svg
  Yes
  No
Referendum held: 17 March 1991
Voting bulletin

A referendum on the future of the Soviet Union was held on 17 March 1991. The question put to voters was

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?[1]

In Kazakhstan the wording of the referendum was changed by substituting "equal sovereign states" for "equal sovereign republics."[2]

Although the vote was boycotted by the authorities in Armenia, Estonia, Georgia (though not the breakaway province of Abkhazia, where the result was over 98% in favour,[3] and in South Ossetia),[4] Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova (though not Transnistria or Gagauzia),[5] turnout was 80% across the USSR.[2] The referendums question was approved by nearly 70% of voters in all nine other republics that took part.[6] It was the first, and only, referendum in the history of the Soviet Union, which was dissolved on 26 December 1991.[7][8]

Results[edit]

Choice Votes %
For 113,512,812 77.8
Against 32,303,977 22.2
Invalid/blank votes 2,757,817
Total 148,574,606 100
Registered voters/turnout 185,647,355 80.0
Source: Nohlen & Stöver[9]

In participating republics[edit]

Republic For Against Invalid
votes
Total
votes
Registered
voters
Turnout
Votes % Votes %
Russian SFSR 56,860,783 73.00 21,030,753 27.00 1,809,633 79,701,169 105,643,364 75.44
Bashkir ASSR 1,908,875 85.9 269,007 12.1 43,276 2,221,158 2,719,637 81.7
Buryat ASSR 447,438 83.5 78,167 14.6 10,197 535,802 668,231 80.2
Dagestan ASSR 670,488 82.6 131,522 16.2 9,999 812,009 1,008,626 80.5
Kabardino-Balkar ASSR 290,380 77.9 77,339 20.8 4,888 372,607 489,436 76.1
Kalmyk ASSR 148,462 87.8 17,833 10.5 2,829 169,124 204,301 82.8
Karelian ASSR 317,854 76.0 92,703 22.0 7,544 418,101 551,644 75.8
Komi ASSR 412,842 76.0 119,678 22.0 10,883 543,403 797,049 75.44
Mari ASSR 333,319 79.6 77,239 18.5 8,041 418,599 525,685 79.6
Mordovian ASSR 459,021 80.3 101,886 17.8 10,724 571,631 677,706 84.3
North Ossetian ASSR 331,823 90.2 32,786 8.9 3,249 367,858 428,307 85.9
Tatar ASSR 1,708,193 87.5 211,516 10.8 32,059 1,951,768 2,532,383 77.1
Tuvan ASSR 126,598 91.4 9,404 6.8 2,494 138,496 171,731 80.6
Udmurt ASSR 622,714 76.0 180,289 22.0 16,137 819,140 1,103,083 74.3
Chechen–Ingush ASSR 318,059 75.9 94,737 22.6 6,216 419,012 712,139 58.8
Chuvash Autonomous ASSR 616,387 82.4 113,249 15.1 18,784 748,420 900,913 81.3
Yakut ASSR 415,712 76.7 116,798 21.6 9,483 541,993 688,679 78.7
Republic of Azerbaijan 2,709,246 94.12 169,225 5.88 25,326 2,903,797 3,866,659 75.10
Nakhchivan ACSR 31,328 87.3 3,620 10.1 918 35,866 174,364 20.6
Byelorussian SSR 5,069,313 83.72 986,079 16.28 71,591 6,126,983 7,354,796 83.31
Kazakh SSR 8,295,519 95.00 436,560 5.00 84,464 8,816,543 9,999,433 88.17
Kirghiz SSR 2,057,971 95.98 86,246 4.02 30,377 2,174,593 2,341,646 92.87
Tajik SSR 2,315,755 96.85 75,300 3.15 16,497 2,407,552 2,549,096 94.45
Turkmen SSR 1,766,584 98.26 31,203 1.74 6,531 1,804,310 1,846,310 97.66
Ukrainian SSR 22,110,899 71.48 8,820,089 28.52 583,256 31,514,244 37,732,178 83.52
Uzbek SSR 9,196,848 94.73 511,373 5.27 108,112 9,816,333 10,287,938 95.42
Karakalpak ASSR 563,916 97.6 10,133 1.8 3,668 577,717 584,208 98.9
Source: Direct Democracy

A boycott campaign reduced the Against votes in Western Ukraine.[10]

In republics not participating in the Soviet referendums[edit]

First, it must be noted an official referendum had been held in Estonia on 3 March 1991 whether to re-establish the Estonian republic that had been occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. The result was 77.8% in favour of re-establishing the Estonian republic.[11] Also Latvia held an official referendum on 3 March 1991 where the overwhelming majority voted to re-establish the independent Latvian republic.

Consequently, in these republics pro-Soviet front-organisations organised voluntary referendums without official sanction.[12][13] Turnout of voting here was considerably less than 50% of the franchised voters of these countries, but this information was not included in the official statement of the Central Commission of the Referendum of USSR.[14]

Republic For Against Invalid
votes
Total
votes
Registered
voters
(not equal to
franchised voters)
Turnout
(based on
registered,
not franchised voters)
Votes % Votes %
Republic of Armenia 2,541 72.46 966 27.54 42 3,549 4,923 72.09
Republic of Georgia[15] 43,950 99.98 9 0.02 53 44,012 45,696 96.31
Abkhaz ASSR 164,231 98.5 1,566 0.9 747 166,544 318,317 52.3
Republic of Estonia 211,090 95.46 10,040 4.54 1,110 222,240 299,681 74.16
Republic of Latvia 415,147 95.84 18,015 4.16 3,621 436,783 670,828 65.11
Republic of Lithuania 496,050 99.13 4,355 0.87 970 436,783 582,262 86.11
SSR Moldova 688,905 98.72 8,916 1.28 3,072 700,893 841,507 83.29
Source: Direct Democracy

Additional questions[edit]

In several of the republics, additional questions were added to the ballot. In Russia, an additional question was asked on whether elective post of the president of the Russian SFSR should be created. In Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan the additional question was on the sovereignty of their republics as part of a new union.[2]

Kyrgyz SSR[edit]

In the Kyrgyz SSR, voters were also asked "Do you agree that the Republic of Kyrgyzstan should be in the renewed Union as a sovereign republic with equal rights?" It was approved by 62.2% of voters, although turnout was only 81.7%, compared to 92.9% in the Union-wide referendum.[16]

Choice Votes %
For 62.2
Against 37.8
Invalid/blank votes
Total 100
Source: Nohlen et al.

Ukrainian SSR[edit]

In the Ukrainian SSR, voters were also asked "Do you agree that Ukraine should be part of a Union of Soviet sovereign states on the basis on the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine?"[17] The proposal was approved by 81.7% of voters.[17]

Choice Votes %
For 25,224,687 81.7
Against 5,655,701 18.3
Invalid/blank votes 584,703
Total 31,465,091 100
Registered voters/turnout 37,689,767 83.5
Source: Nohlen & Stöver

Uzbek SSR[edit]

In the Uzbek SSR, voters were also asked "Do you agree that Uzbekistan should remain part of a renewed Union (federation) as a sovereign republic with equal rights?" It was approved by 94.9% of voters, with a turnout of 95.5%.[1]

Choice Votes %
For 94.9
Against 5.1
Invalid/blank votes 1.1
Total 9,824,304 100
Source: Nohlen et al.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Nohlen, D, Grotz, F & Hartmann, C (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p492 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  2. ^ a b c Referendum of March 1991 Russian History Encyclopedia on Answers.com
  3. ^ Duffy-Toft, M (2003) The geography of ethnic violence: identity, interests, and the indivisibility of territory p98
  4. ^ (Russian) Chronicle of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict (1988-2008)
  5. ^ Historical Overview of the PMR (Transnistria, Transdniestr, Transdnestr, Pridnestrovie)
  6. ^ Understanding the Cold War: A Historian's Personal Reflections by Adam Bruno Ulam, Leopolis Press, 2000, ISBN 0-9679960-0-7 (page 353)
  7. ^ Russia and the World Economy: Problems of Integration by Alan H. Smith, Routledge, 1993, ISBN 0-415-08925-5 (page 1)
  8. ^ Referendum on the preservation of the USSR, RIA Novosti (2011)
  9. ^ Nohlen, D & Stöver, P (2010) Elections in Europe: A data handbook, p1647 ISBN 978-3-8329-5609-7
  10. ^ Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990s: A Minority Faith by Andrew Wilson, Cambridge University Press, 1996, ISBN 0-521-57457-9 (page 127)
  11. ^ "Chronology". 6 September 2012. 
  12. ^ Об итогах референдума СССР, состоявшегося 17 марта 1991 года (Из сообщения Центральной комиссии референдума СССР) // Известия. — 1991. — 27 марта.
  13. ^ (Russian) Воля, которую мы потеряли... "Время" № 5. 16 марта 2001 года
  14. ^ (Russian)Сообщение Центральной комиссии референдума СССР об итогах референдума СССР, состоявшегося 17 марта 1991 года // Правда. — 1991. — 27 марта.
  15. ^ Referendum was held only in Abkhazia and South Ossetia
  16. ^ Nohlen, D, Grotz, F & Hartmann, C (2001) Elections in Asia: A data handbook, Volume I, p443 ISBN 0-19-924958-X
  17. ^ a b Nohlen & Stöver, p1985