Declaration of independence, the first “Fall of the Lenins”: what was Ukraine in 1991

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30 years is still a very young age for a person, but a considerable date for the country. Over the years, Ukraine has experienced an incredible number of events that have influenced and continue influencing our lives.

The year 1991 was significant, in particular.

On August 24, people’s deputies held a meeting in the Verkhovna Rada. The Act of Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine was on the agenda. While the discussion was taking place, a real “Maidan” took place under the walls of the parliament – 50 thousand people gathered there.

“This huge mass of people near the Verkhovna Rada may have been an instrument of pressure, but not on all deputies, but on those who hesitated. So for some it was an act of support, and for others – it was really a tool to demonstrate public sentiment” – says political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko.

Thus, on August 24, 1991, Ukraine proclaimed its independence.

“You know, when I’m often told about feelings, I tend to forget, but I do remember the feeling of love. There was an explosion of emotions, they carried the Ukrainian flag, sang songs, sang the Ukrainian national anthem, we danced, women cried, there were tears of happiness” – said the President of Ukraine (1991-1994) Leonid Kravchuk.

December 1, 1991 was also a historic day. Then Ukrainians had to come to the polls and vote “for” or “against” the country’s independence from the USSR, as well as elect their first president.

“My first priority was not that there would be a victory in the presidential election, for me the most important issue was the referendum. I understood that if the people do not vote for independence, the meaning of the President of Ukraine is reduced to zero” – Kravchuk said.

More than 61% of voters then voted for Leonid Kravchuk.

According to the results of the referendum, more than 90% of voters supported Ukraine’s independence.

The very next day after the vote, Canada and Poland recognized Ukraine’s independence from the USSR.

“Starting December 1 to December 30, more than 40 countries recognized us, in just one month, which is what a referendum means” – Kravchuk recalls.

And on December 5, Leonid Kravchuk takes the oath to the Ukrainian people.

It is worth noting that the first “Leninopad”, or the fall of the monuments to Vladimir Lenin, did not happen in 2013. There were as many as three Lenins in the vicinity of the October Revolution Square, the future Maidan. The most important one – in front of the hotel “Ukraina”. This monument was dismantled yet in 1991.

More about the main events of independence – in the documentary series “30 years of Independence” on UA ​​TV channel.