Declaration of Independence of Ukraine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine
Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, 1991.jpg
Typewritten version of the act
Original titleUkrainian: Акт проголошення незалежності України
Created24 August 1991
Ratified24 August 1991
LocationCentral State Archive of the higher governing bodies of Ukraine, Kyiv
Author(s)Levko Lukianenko
SignatoriesLeonid Kravchuk
PurposeDeclaration of independence
Full Text
Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine at Wikisource

The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Акт проголошення незалежності України, romanizedAkt proholoshennya nezalezhnosti Ukrayiny) was adopted by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR on 24 August 1991.[1] The Act reestablished Ukraine's state independence.[2][1]


The Act was adopted in the aftermath of the coup attempt in the Soviet Union on 19 August, when hardline Communist leaders attempted to restore central Communist party control over the USSR.[1] In response (during a tense 11-hour extraordinary session),[3] the Supreme Soviet (parliament) of the Ukrainian SSR, in a special Saturday session, overwhelmingly approved the Act of Declaration.[1] The Act passed with 321 votes in favor, 2 votes against, and 6 abstentions (out of 360 attendants).[3] The text was largely composed during the night of 23 August–24 August mainly by Levko Lukyanenko, Serhiy Holovatyi, Mykhailo Horyn, Ivan Zayets and Vyacheslav Chornovil.[4]

The Communist Party of Ukraine (CPU), being persuaded behind the scenes by its fellow Party member and Supreme Soviet Chairman Leonid Kravchuk,[4] felt compelled to support the Act in order to distance itself from the coup.[3] CPU First Secretary Stanislav Hurenko argued that "it will be a disaster" if the CPU were to fail to support independence.[3] CPU members had been unnerved by the news of former party leader Vladimir Ivashko's arrest in Moscow, the re-subordination of the Soviet Army under the leaders of the Russian SFSR and the sealing of the Communist Party Central Committee's premises.[4]

People celebrate the declaration near the Verkhovna Rada building (24 August 1991)
The front page of the parliamentary newspaper Holos Ukrayiny with the text of the declaration printed on the lower half (27 August 1991)

The same day (24 August), the parliament called for a referendum on support for the Declaration of Independence.[1][3] The proposal for calling the national referendum came jointly from opposition leaders Ihor Yukhnovsky and Dmytro Pavlychko.[3] The Parliament also voted for the creation of a national guard of Ukraine and turned jurisdiction over all the armed forces located on Ukrainian territory over to itself.[3]

Other than a noisy crowd that had gathered at the Parliament building, the streets of Kyiv were quiet that day, with few signs of open celebration.[3]

In the days that followed, a number of resolutions and decrees were passed: nationalizing all CPU property and handing it over to the Supreme Soviet and local councils; issuing an amnesty for all political prisoners; suspending all CPU activities and freezing CPU assets and bank accounts pending official investigations into possible collaboration with the Moscow coup plotters; setting up a committee of inquiry into official behavior during the coup; and establishing a committee on military matters related to the creation of a Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.[3]

On 26 August 1991, the Permanent Representative of the Ukrainian SSR to the United Nations (the Ukrainian SSR was a founding member of the United Nations),[5] Hennadiy Udovenko, informed the office of the Secretary General of the United Nations that his permanent mission to this international assembly would officially be designated as representing Ukraine.[5][6] That same day, the executive committee of Kyiv also voted to remove all the monuments of Communist heroes from public places, including the Lenin monument in the central October Revolution Square.[3] The committee decided that the large square would be renamed Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) as would the central Metro station below it.[3]

Two days later, more than 200,000 Lviv and Lviv oblast residents declared their readiness to serve in the national guard.[7]

In the independence referendum on 1 December 1991, the people of Ukraine expressed deep and widespread support for the Act of Declaration of Independence, with more than 90% voting in favor, and 84% of the electorate participating.[1] The referendum took place on the same day as Ukraine's first direct presidential election; all six presidential candidates supported independence and campaigned for a "yes" vote. The referendum's passage ended any realistic chance of the Soviet Union remaining together even on a limited scale; Ukraine had long been second only to Russia in economic and political power.

A week after the election, newly elected president Leonid Kravchuk joined his Russian and Belarusian counterparts (Boris Yeltsin and Stanislav Shushkevich, respectively) in signing the Belavezha Accords, which declared that the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.[8] The Soviet Union officially dissolved on 26 December.[9]

Since 1992, the 24th of August is celebrated in Ukraine as Independence Day.[10]

International recognition[edit]

Poland and Canada were the first countries to recognize Ukraine's independence, both on 2 December 1991.[11] On the same day (2 December) it was reported during the late-evening airing of the television news program Vesti that the President of the Russian SFSR, Boris Yeltsin, had recognized Ukraine's independence.[12]

The United States did so on 25 December 1991.[13] That month the independence of Ukraine was recognized by 68 States, and in 1992 it was recognized by another 64 States.[14]

In January 1992, U.S. President George H. W. Bush approved a program of American humanitarian support for the USSR and Ukraine, supervised by the Secretary of Defense.[15]

A chronology of international recognition of the independence of Ukraine
Date Country
December 2, 1991 Poland
Russian SFSR[note 1]
December 3, 1991 Hungary
December 4, 1991 Latvia
December 5, 1991 Argentina
Croatia[note 2]
December 9, 1991 Estonia
December 11, 1991 Slovenia[note 2]
December 12, 1991 Georgia[note 3]
December 16, 1991 Bulgaria
December 18, 1991 Armenia[note 3]
December 19, 1991 Sweden
December 20, 1991 Kyrgyzstan[note 3]
Turkmenistan[note 3]
December 23, 1991 Kazakhstan[note 3]
December 24, 1991 Afghanistan
December 25, 1991 Iran
Tajikistan[note 3]
United States
December 26, 1991 Australia
New Zealand
Soviet Union
December 27, 1991 Algeria
Republic of Moldova
December 28, 1991 Indonesia
December 29, 1991 Bangladesh
December 30, 1991 Finland
South Korea
December 31, 1991 Belgium
Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom
January 1, 1992 Iraq
January 2, 1992 Ethiopia
United Arab Emirates
January 3, 1992 Egypt
January 4, 1992 Uzbekistan
January 5, 1992 Bahrain
January 7, 1992 Portugal
January 8, 1992 Romania
January 10, 1992 Guinea
January 17, 1992 Mongolia
January 19, 1992 Iceland
January 22, 1992 Philippines
January 24, 1992 Kingdom of Nepal
February 6, 1992 Azerbaijan
February 11, 1992 Botswana
February 14, 1992 South Africa
March 3, 1992 Malaysia
March 4, 1992 Madagascar
May 7, 1992 Rwanda
June 2, 1992 Senegal
June 8, 1992 Tanzania
July 23, 1993 Macedonia
  1. ^ Recognition of Ukraine's independence by the RSFSR was announced on 2 December 1991 by Boris Yeltsin during that day's edition of the late-evening news program Vesti[12]
  2. ^ a b De jure constituent republic of SFR Yugoslavia to 15 January 1992. De facto independent state
  3. ^ a b c d e f De jure constituent republic of the Soviet Union to 26 December 1991. De facto independent state

(Text of) Act of Independence[edit]

Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine

the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic solemnly declares
the Independence of Ukraine and the creation of an independent Ukrainian state – UKRAINE.

The territory of Ukraine is indivisible and inviolable.

From this day forward, only the Constitution and laws of Ukraine are valid on the territory of Ukraine.

This act becomes effective at the moment of its approval.

— Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, August 24, 1991


  1. ^ a b c d e f A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples by Paul Robert Magocsi, University of Toronto Press, 2010, ISBN 1442610212 (page 722/723)
  2. ^ Volodymyr Vasylenko. Non-nuclear status of Ukraine: past, present, and future (Без’ядерний статус України: минуле, сучасне, майбутнє). The Ukrainian Week. 31 May 2018
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Historic vote for independence, The Ukrainian Weekly (1 September 1991)
  4. ^ a b c A reform that ruined the Soviet Union, The Ukrainian Week (10 November 2018)
  5. ^ a b "Activities of the Member States - Ukraine". United Nations. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  6. ^ U.N. Mission stresses statehood of Ukraine, The Ukrainian Weekly (1 September 1991)
  7. ^ NEWSBRIEFS FROM UKRAINE, The Ukrainian Weekly (1 September 1991)
  8. ^ Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation by Robert A. Saunders & Vlad Strukov, Scarecrow Press, 2010, ISBN 0810854759 (page 75)
  9. ^ Turning Points – Actual and Alternate Histories: The Reagan Era from the Iran Crisis to Kosovo by Rodney P. Carlisle and J. Geoffrey Golson, ABC-CLIO, 2007, ISBN 1851098852 (page 111)
  10. ^ Ukraine Intelligence & Security Activities and Operations Handbook, International Business Publications, 2009, ISBN 0739716611 (page 268)
  11. ^ Ukraine and Russia: The Post-Soviet Transition by Roman Solchanyk, Rowman & Littlefield, 2000, ISBN 0742510182 (page 100)
    Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol 30, 1992, University of British Columbia Press, 1993, ISBN 9780774804387 (page 371)
    Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union by Roman Szporluk, Hoover Institution Press, 2000, ISBN 0817995420 (page 355
  12. ^ a b "Ex-Communist Wins in Ukraine; Yeltsin Recognizes Independence". The New York Times. 3 December 1991. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  13. ^ A Guide to the United States' History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Ukraine, Office of the Historian
    The Limited Partnership: Building a Russian-US Security Community by James E. Goodby and Benoit Morel, Oxford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0198291612 (page 48)
  14. ^ Ukrainian Independence, Worldwide News Ukraine
  15. ^ "Remarks at the International Conference on Humanitarian Assistance to the Former U.S.S.R". January 22, 1992. Archived from the original on July 22, 2021.

External links[edit]