Academic journal article Demokratizatsiya

The End of the Soviet Union: Stanislau Shushkevich's Eyewitness Account

Academic journal article Demokratizatsiya

The End of the Soviet Union: Stanislau Shushkevich's Eyewitness Account

Article excerpt

For the first time in English, this issue of Dernokratizatsiya publishes an excerpt from former Belarus leader Stanislau Shushkevich's autobiography, My Life." The Collapse and Resurrection of the USSR. This book has never been published in Belarus or in an English translation, though Moscow's ROSSPEN published the entire monograph on November 5, 2012, in Russian as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] CCCP.

The excerpt translated and reproduced here describes the dramatic events surrounding the signing of the Belavezha Accords that formally ended the Soviet Union and established the Commonwealth of Independent States. These events are central to the massive regime transformations in Eurasia that started under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and that are the chief subject matter of our journal. The Belavezha Accords simultaneously represent an outcome of the USSR's democratization and a cause of what came next, including continued political opening in some post-Soviet countries and dramatic new rounds of political closure in others.

The following text, like the rest of Shushkevich's book, is part personal memoir and part analysis of the events he participated in. It switches among informal observations, historical description, and commentary from the author's perspective. …

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