Ukraine History Between 1991 and 1994

By | December 24, 2021

In the course of the complex process that led to the dissolution of the USSR, the Ukraine was born as an independent state when its president L. Kravciuk signed in Minsk on December 8, 1991, together with the Russian president B. El’zin and the Belarusian president S. Shuskevič, a declaration acknowledging that ” the Soviet Union as a subject of international law and as a geopolitical reality “had ceased to exist. In fact, the Ukrainian Parliament had already proclaimed the full sovereignty of the Republic on 16 July 1990 with 355 ” yes ” and 4 ” no ”, and the Ukraine had separated from the USSR with a series of unilateral acts culminating in the declaration of independence of 24 August 1991 (later sanctioned by the popular referendum of 21 December of the same year, with which over 90% of the voters voted for the separation). From the first moment the Ukraine – also because it groups together very different territories for historical traditions (think of eastern Galicia, eastern Bucovina and the sub-Carpathian areas which were annexed to the USSR in 1939-44 and which in the past had now been part of Poland, now of the Austria and Romania) or by ethnic composition (the Russians are for example in the majority in the north-eastern areas of the country and in the Crimea) – it has found itself facing complex identity problems. For Ukraine 2015, please check

The conflict with Moscow, before and even more than about ethnic issues, had opened in 1989 when the Uniates (belonging to the Greek-Catholic rite Church born in the mid-15th century) began to manifest openly, especially in Galicia against the policy of forced integration into the Russian Orthodox Church, actually supported up to that time by the Soviet state (Stalin in 1946 had declared the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church illegal, and only in October 1990, with Gorbachev, did the Soviet Supreme Soviet approved the law on religious freedoms thus also welcoming protests from Ukraine). In the same 1989, in the new situation opened with perestroika, the Rukh was born, a popular movement for reforms which, together with other non-communist political formations, already achieved significant results in the elections of March 4, 1990, even if the majority of seats (239 out of 450) were won by the former communists who, after the dissolution of the party decided by Kravciuk on August 24, 1991, they had created the Ukrainian Socialist Party. Kravciuk, squeezed on the one hand by the pressure of both the former Communists (who asked for a long time for economic reforms and privatization, and a policy of agreement with Moscow) and of the forces that – such as the Republican Party of Crimea – expressed the interests of the Russian minorities, and on the other by the Rukh and from the other nationalist formations (which demanded, on the other hand, the launch of an incisive economic reform in order to reach a market economy and complete independence from Russia as soon as possible), he aimed at the assumption of ever wider presidential powers. However, already in October 1992 V. Fokin, president of the Council of Ministers since October 17, 1990 and therefore representative of the old leadership group, was replaced by L. Kuchma in a government that was largely made up of ” new men ”.

While the disagreements with Russia on the issues of the division of the former Soviet Black Sea fleet, of Crimea (explicitly claimed by the Russian Parliament), as well as of the control and then of the transfer of the former Soviet strategic weapons located in the country, the economic situation- social policy worsened dramatically starting in 1992, with inflation reaching 40% monthly, GDP dropping by 14%, the unemployment index beyond 10%. At the same time, the reform policy initiated by the government encountered ever stronger obstacles. The resistance came not only from Parliament and from President Kravciuk himself, but also from vast areas of the country (particularly significant were the strikes by the Donbass miners in June 1993).

Kuchma was therefore forced to leave the camp in September 1993. To replace him, at the same time as the political and presidential elections were called respectively for March and June 1994, was called J. Zviahilski, until then deputy prime minister; but the change of men and the blocking of the policy of reforms, especially as regards privatizations, did not allow to put an end to either the economic crisis or the political-institutional one. And this even if, in order to make the economic situation less heavy as well as to strengthen its positions, Kravciuk continued to focus, after the signing on June 16, 1993 of a first agreement with El’zin, on reaching an agreement, in exchange for substantial aid,start -1 and start -2.

The long and complex bilateral negotiations with Russia for the division of the fleet and the use of the naval base of Sevastopol, although they allowed to attenuate the tension between the two countries, did not lead to concrete results along 1993-94. During the negotiations for strategic weapons, on November 19, 1993 the Ukraine instead signed a preliminary agreement with Russia and the United States for the dismantling of former Soviet nuclear weapons present in its territory, which was to lead to the tripartite agreement signed in Moscow on January 14, 1994 by Clinton, El’zin and Kravciuk, and then in November 1994 at the accession of the Ukraine to the non-proliferation treaty.

The situation in the industrial areas became particularly serious, following the impossibility in which the country found itself to guarantee the supply of raw materials and the necessary energy sources after the decision taken by Russia to demand for oil and for the gas prices increasingly close to those of the international market. At the end of 1993 – as inflation was over 4,000%, debt to Russia reached $ 2.1 billion, and industrial production was 40% lower than in 1990 – heavy increases were decided upon. prices (from 150 to 500%) and a series of other measures: fixed ” political ” exchange rate of the currency, the karbovanetz, which had replaced the ruble; generalized reduction of the working day in industry; 30% cuts in electricity consumption for heating and lighting; suspension of the decision to close the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after the disastrous explosion of April 26, 1986, as was undertaken. Despite the measures taken to meet the needs of the weaker classes (with the imposition of food companies to hand over 40% of production to state stockpiles in order to guarantee the minimum vitality for the population), the government measures caused negative reactions among the population..

The climate became even heavier with the worsening of the crisis following the situation that developed in the Crimea, which had been ” ceded ” by Khrushchev to the Ukraine in 1954. This decision was declared “unconstitutional” by the Russian Parliament in May 1992, after the Crimean Parliament expressed itself in favor of independence in April. Finally, on January 30, 1994, J. Meškov, the main exponent of the Russian majority, was elected at the head of the autonomous republic. This provoked an aggravation of the conflict between the central and the republican powers, which demanded dual citizenship (Ukrainian and Russian) for the residents of the peninsula, the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops and the assumption by Russia of complete control over the fleet of the Black Sea.

In a heated climate, the presidential and parliamentary elections took place in the US. The first ended (10 July 1994) with the defeat of Kravciuk and the victory, with 52.59% of the votes, of Kuchma on the basis of a program of clear reaffirmation of the “ indisputable principle ” of sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, of a non-traumatic resumption of the policy of economic reforms, of rapprochement with Russia (but not to the detriment of relations with the West) and of the search for new agreements with the United States (where the president himself went on an official visit to the end of November 1994). The political elections, which took place in several rounds starting from March 1994 but which not even in November allowed all 450 members of Parliament to be elected, Rukh. A. Morosov, president of the Socialist Party, was elected at the head of Parliament while V. Massol, formerly belonging to the Brezhnevian nomenklatura, had already been elected prime minister on 15 June 1994. In the new situation that had arisen with the defeat of Kravciuk, in Crimea Meškov went so far as to dissolve the Parliamentary Assembly on 10 September 1994, to assume full powers and to hold a referendum for a new Constitution for April. 1995. Kiev responded to the challenge, on the one hand by starting fruitful negotiations with Moscow (which led to important agreements regarding the status of Sevastopol and the division of the fleet) and on the other by dismissing Meškov in March 1995 and suspending any space of autonomy with the Constitution. of the peninsula.

Ukraine History Between 1991 and 1994