Final Days: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Soviet Union

By Andrei S. Grachev; Margo Milne | Go to book overview

Appendix: Resignation Speech of Mikhail Gorbachev
Delivered at 7:00 P.M. on December 25, 1991

Dear Compatriots, Fellow Citizens,

Due to the situation created by the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, I am terminating my duties as president of the USSR.

I have firmly defended the autonomy and independence of the peoples, the sovereignty of the republics. But I have also defended the preservation of the union, the integrity of the country.

Events have taken a different course. The policy of dismemberment of the country and dispersal of the state has prevailed, and that I cannot accept.

The Alma-Ata meeting has not changed my position on this matter. Moreover, I am convinced that such far-reaching decisions should have been based on an expression of the will of the people. Nevertheless, I will do everything in my power to ensure that the accords that were signed at Alma-Ata lead to a true mutual understanding in society and facilitate both our emergence from crisis and the process of reform.

In addressing you for the last time as president of the USSR, I feel that it is essential for me to offer my appraisal of the road that has been traveled since 1985, especially since there are so many contradictory, superficial, and unobjective opinions on this matter.

As fate would have it, at the time when I acceded to the highest office of the state it was already clear that something was wrong with the country. We have everything in abundance here: land, oil, gas, coal, precious metals, other natural resources--not to mention the talents and intelligence that God has liberally bestowed on us. And yet we live under much poorer circumstances than the developed countries, we are always lagging behind them.

The reason for this was already obvious: Society was being strangled by the bureaucratic-command system. Condemned to serve the ideology and bear the terrible burden of the arms race, society had reached the limits of its endurance. All attempts at partial reform (and we have had many) failed, one after the other. The

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Final Days: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Soviet Union
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword - ARCHIE BROWN ix
  • Preface xv
  • Mending the Breach 1
  • Reinforcements From The Second Front 13
  • On a Crumbling Verge 33
  • A President Without a Country 47
  • One Last Mission For the Union 59
  • On the Eve Of the Seventy-Fourth Anniversary Of the October Revolution 85
  • The Mirage Of a Confederal State 97
  • A Free Man With Nothing to Fear 113
  • A Cloud in Trousers 119
  • Fight to the Finish 127
  • Final Hours 145
  • Checking the Pulse 153
  • Last Rites 159
  • Burying a Time Capsule 169
  • Departure 175
  • Afterword: - A Mythical Kingdom Vanishes--Again 195
  • Appendix: Resignation Speech of Mikhail Gorbachev - Delivered at 7:00 P.M. on December 25, 1991 203
  • Notes 207
  • About the Book and Author 214
  • Index 215
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