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Ukraine marks the 32d anniversary of the Declaration on State Sovereignty on July 16

Ukraine marks the 32d anniversary of the Declaration on State Sovereignty on July 16

Looking for a way out of deep stagnation, the leadership of the Communist Party of the USSR began a “cosmetic overhaul” of the system known as “perestroika” in the early 1980s. However, the emergence of freedom accelerated the process, and the Soviet empire began to disintegrate…

Meanwhile, Ukraine was enraged. The People’s Movement of Ukraine for Perestroika was founded by democratic and patriotic forces, and other organizations advocating for freedom and independence grew in number. The Ukrainian Inter-Party Assembly began registering Ukrainian People’s Republic citizens on the streets (at the end of 1990, about 3 million were registered). Ukrainians’ national liberation movement was gaining traction.

The first alternative elections (when more than one candidate is on the ballot) to the Verkhovna Rada of the Ukrainian SSR of the 12th convocation were held in March 1990. It went down in history as the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine of democratic convocation. On the first day of its meeting, May 15, a clash erupted between two factions: the so-called group 239 (the communist majority “For a sovereign Soviet Ukraine”) and the opposition “Democratic bloc” — the People’s Council.

At the end of Ukraine’s Soviet period, the issue of restoring statehood became a dilemma: now or never. The Ukrainian SSR’s Verkhovna Rada created favorable conditions for the declaration’s adoption. The opposition People’s Council was able to seize political control.

The presentation and discussion of draft declarations in the Ukrainian SSR Verkhovna Rada continued from June 28 to July 11, 1990. There were 12 of them in total: one from the Presidium, one from the deputy group “For Soviet Sovereign Ukraine,” and nine from the opposition.

People’s councilors focused primarily on preserving Ukraine’s territorial integrity, ensuring economic independence, forming the republican armed forces, introducing Ukrainian citizenship, adopting a new republican constitution, and resolving the issue of signing a new union treaty.

On July 16, 1990, the Ukrainian SSR’s Verkhovna Rada approved the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine, “fulfilling the will of the Ukrainian people to build a free and independent state.” 355 of the 384 deputies registered in the hall voted “for,” 4 voted “against,” 1 abstained, and the rest did not vote.

Ukraine proclaimed the day of the Declaration a public holiday. Large public gatherings and demonstrations marked the first anniversary of its adoption in many regions.


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