Mikhail Gorbachev unscrambled the CIS as “managed to annoy Gorbachev”
At the end of 1991 at a government dacha Viskuli near Brest and Belovezhskaya Pushcha, the President of Russia Boris Yeltsin, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk and the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich signed the agreement on the dissolution of the Soviet Union and creating the CIS. For a quarter century, this event is overgrown with details, myths, legends, gossip.
It is considered that by the end of 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was played by the figure. Some researchers disagree, arguing that Russian President Boris Yeltsin began to lose its charisma the winner of the emergency Committee. As noted by the former Gorbachev adviser Andrei Grachev, Western leaders have become aware of “inconvenient” Yeltsin and increasingly turned to Gorbachev as to the more familiar and predictable partner. So for Yeltsin, the time has come for decisive steps.
Gorbachev had a plan to create a “Union of sovereign States” (SSG) — Confederation of education of independent countries United by some functions of the higher level (defence, foreign policy). Many such Association seemed unsustainable, and the Yeltsin called him “the Union of salvation Gorbachev”. Yeltsin had a different idea. He wanted to remove Gorbachev from the arena, having dealt with the dual power in Russia. The most effective way was the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of interstate Association — the Union of independent States (CIS). Gorbachev also transcribed as CIS “managed to annoy Gorbachev”.
But Yeltsin could not do without Ukraine. If suddenly the second most important Republic decided to remain in the Union, the plan collapsed. December 1 the Ukraine held a referendum in which the vast majority of the population voted for independence. Even in the Donbass voted for independence more than 80 percent of people.
According to the then head of Belarus Stanislav Shushkevich, the initiator of the meeting in Viskuli was him. Invited Yeltsin for talks on non-market conditions of oil and gas supplies, and Ukraine was called, because it had to do with the transportation of energy carriers and to negotiate behind her would be wrong. “There were three delegations which had the right to discuss other economic issues, recalls Shushkevich. — When we started to discuss who we are and what we can do, suddenly, Gennady Burbulis (the closest ally of Yeltsin, Secretary of state of Russia. — Ed.) raised the question: “would you agree to sign such words in our document that “the USSR as a geopolitical reality and subject of international law, ceases its activity and existence.” I instantly got really excited and said that he would sign. That is, we turned our conversations into a political plane, because otherwise it could only Gorbachev to ask to help us with oil and gas. Gorbachev I thought more frail President Yeltsin and the strong, dignified, a real Russian President. With him, I thought we agree, and we agreed in the end”.
Yeltsin and his team understood that for the sake of completeness they do not have enough of Kazakhstan, the largest Central Asian Republic, the most important component of the Union. The President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev promised to be, but in Moscow, his plane landed for refueling. In Belarus, Nazarbayev never flew. In the common version — after talking with Gorbachev, who promised him the post of Chairman of the Supreme Council of SSG.
There was much talk about the relaxed atmosphere that prevailed in the Belovezhskaya meeting. December 7, the day of arrival, after the first negotiations, the leaders of the republics went to the bath. “We must pay tribute to our government, it is all prepared to the highest level, — says Stanislav Shushkevich. — Was I supposed to pretend I’m the host, and I invite everyone. On the morning of 8 December he went hunting. After lunch when the cameras signed a historic agreement.”
Immediately after the public signing of the agreement, Yeltsin called the then U.S. President Bush. In his memoirs, Bush recalls that Yeltsin spoke directly of a hunting Lodge in Belovezhskaya Pushcha. In parallel with Yeltsin, Shushkevich spoke on the phone with Gorbachev, who was terribly indignant: “are You crazy it’s gone! What will the Americans.” Shushkevich “reassured” the President of the Union that they already know everything.
In the memoirs of various individuals was information that members of the Bialowieza meeting was controlled by the KGB, that even the security forces surrounded the residence in Viskuli and was ready to neutralize the participants in the negotiations and to transmit them where necessary. But, as noted in his memoirs, Russian politician Sergei Baburin, at that time Gorbachev was not the staffing capacity to carry out this operation. After the August coup changed the leadership of all the allied law enforcement agencies, and arrest Yeltsin was unlikely.
Leonid Kravchuk repeatedly said that the Belovezhskaya agreement prevented a “more blood” which would be spilled in less civilised “divorce”. The most interesting point of the Belavezha accords is that original signed documents are gone.
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