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Declaration of Independence of Ukraine

Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine
Ukrainian: Акт проголошення незалежності України
As printed on the ballot for the national referendum on December 1, 1991.
Created 24 August 1991
Ratified 24 August 1991
Location Central State Archive of the higher governing bodies of Ukraine, Kiev.
Author(s) Levko Lukyanenko
Signatories Leonid Kravchuk
Purpose Declaration of independence

The Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Акт проголошення незалежності України, translit. Akt proholoshennya nezalezhnosti Ukrayiny) was adopted by the Ukrainian parliament on 24 August 1991.[1] The Act established Ukraine as an independent state.[1]


  • Adoption 1
  • International recognition 2
  • (Text of) Act of Independence 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


People celebrate the declaration near the Verkhovna Rada building (24 August 1991)

The Act was adopted in the aftermath of the coup attempt on 19 August when conservative Communist leaders of the Soviet Union tried to restore central Communist party control over the USSR.[1] In response (during a tense 11-hour extraordinary session[2]), the Supreme Soviet (parliament) of the Ukrainian SSR in a special Saturday session overwhelmingly approved the Act of Declaration.[1] The Act passed with 321 votes in favor, 2 votes against, and 6 abstentions (out of 360 attendants).[2] The author of the text was Levko Lukyanenko. The Communists (CPU) felt there was no choice other than a decision to secede and, as they expressed it, distance themselves from the events in Moscow, particularly the strong anti-Communist movement in the Russian Parliament.[2] "If we don't vote for independence, it will be a disaster," stated first secretary of the CPU Stanislav Hurenko during the debate.[2]

The same day (24 August), the parliament called for a referendum on support for the Declaration of Independence.[1][2] The proposal for calling the national referendum came jointly from opposition leaders Ihor Yukhnovsky and Dmytro Pavlychko.[2] The Parliament also voted for the creation of a national guard of Ukraine and turned jurisdiction over all the armed forces located on Ukrainian territory over to itself.[2]

Other than a noisy crowd that had gathered at Parliament, the streets of Kiev were quiet that day, with few signs of open celebration.[2]

In the days that followed a number of resolutions and decrees were passed: nationalizing all CPU property and handing it over to the Supreme Soviet and local councils; issuing an amnesty for all political prisoners; suspending all CPU activities and freezing CPU assets and bank accounts pending official investigations into possible collaboration with the Moscow coup plotters; setting up a committee of inquiry into official behavior during the coup; and establishing a committee on military matters related to the creation of a Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.[2]

On 26 August 1991 Permanent Representatives of the Ukrainian SSR to the United Nations (the Ukrainian SSR was a founding member of the United Nations[3]) Hennadiy Udovenko informed the office of the Secretary General of the United Nations that his permanent mission to this international assembly will be officially designated as representing Ukraine.[3][4]

On 26 August 1991 the executive committee of Kiev also voted to remove all the monuments of Communist heroes from public places, including the Lenin monument on the central October Revolution Square.[2] The large square would be renamed Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) as would the central Metro station below it, the executive committee decided.[2]

On 28 August 1991 more than 200,000 Lviv and Lviv oblast residents declared their readiness to serve in the national guard.[5]

In the independence referendum on 1 December 1991, the people of Ukraine expressed widespread support for the Act of Declaration of Independence, with more than 90% voting in favor, and 82% of the electorate participating.[1]

Since 1992, the 24th of August is celebrated in Ukraine as Independence Day.[6]

International recognition

Poland and Canada were the first countries to recognize Ukraine's independence, both on 2 December 1991.[7] The same day President of Russia Boris Yeltsin did the same.[8]

The United States did so on 25 December 1991.[9] That month the independence of Ukraine was recognized by 68 states, and in 1992 it was recognized by another 64 states.[10]

(Text of) Act of Independence

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of


  1. ^ a b c d e f A History of Ukraine: The Land and Its Peoples by Paul Robert Magocsi, University of Toronto Press, 2010, ISBN 1442610212 (page 722/723)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Historic vote for independence, The Ukrainian Weekly (1 September 1991)
  3. ^ a b "Activities of the Member States - Ukraine".  
  4. ^ U.N. Mission stresses statehood of Ukraine, The Ukrainian Weekly (1 September 1991)
  5. ^ NEWSBRIEFS FROM UKRAINE, The Ukrainian Weekly (1 September 1991)
  6. ^ Ukraine Intelligence & Security Activities and Operations Handbook, International Business Publications, 2009, ISBN 0739716611 (page 268)
  7. ^ Ukraine and Russia: The Post-Soviet Transition by Roman Solchanyk, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000, ISBN 0742510182 (page 100)
    Canadian Yearbook of International Law, Vol 30, 1992, University of British Columbia Press, 1993, ISBN 9780774804387 (page 371)
    Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union by Roman Szporluk, Hoover Institution Press, 2000, ISBN 0817995420 (page 355
  8. ^ Russia's Revolution from Above, 1985-2000: Reform, Transition, and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime by Gordon M. Hahn, Transaction Publishers, 2001, ISBN 0765800497 (page 482)
  9. ^ A Guide to the United States' History of Recognition, Diplomatic, and Consular Relations, by Country, since 1776: Ukraine, Office of the Historian
    The Limited Partnership: Building a Russian-Us Security Community by James E. Goodby and Benoit Morel, Oxford University Press, 1993, ISBN 0198291612 (page 48)
  10. ^ Ukrainian Independence, Worldwide News Ukraine

External links

  • (Ukrainian) Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine – Official Verkhovna Rada website
  • (English) Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine – Official Verkhovna Rada website
  • (English) Act of Declaration of the Independence of Ukraine – The Ukrainian Weekly, translation by The Ukrainian Weekly
  • (English) Declaration of Independence of Ukraine – The Windsor Viter, Volume 12, Number 1, July, 2001 Part 2, translation by Andrew Gregorovich
  • (Ukrainian) "Great Saturday" – an interview with writer and parliament deputy Stepan Pushyk on the events of August 24, 1991.
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