MOSCOW, December 25. /TASS/. The Soviet Union’s first president, Mikhail Gorbachev has described the moment he stepped down as the head of state as "dark days" for himself, for the Soviet Union and for Russia. Attempts to use force to stay in power would have triggered an acute civil conflict with unpredictable consequences, he believes.
"Those were dark days for the Soviet Union and for Russia. Those were dark days for me, too, but I did not lose self-control. I put my signature to a decree I was stepping down as the Soviet Union’s president, and I believe that had no right to act otherwise," Gorbachev told TASS on Saturday.
He mentioned two reasons why he could not afford to use of force.
"Firstly, in that case I would have stopped being myself. And, secondly, such a decision would have triggered an acute civil conflict with unpredictable consequences. I was certain that it should be avoided by all means," Gorbachev said.
He stressed he disagreed with those who still argued that the Soviet Union could have been saved, but for his decision to resign.
"Immediately after the Belovezh Accords I stated that the fate of a multi-ethnic country could not be determined at the sole discretion of the leaders of three republics and that the issue must be settled in a constitutional way. I criticized that document as hasty and immature. It had not been discussed either with the population or with the Supreme Soviets of the republics on whose behalf it was signed," Gorbachev said.
The first Soviet president recalled that at that moment the legislatures of the Soviet republics were discussing a draft of a Union of Sovereign States.
"I must say that I pinned my hopes on democratically elected parliaments, although the Belovezh Accords did not imply its ratification. At that critical moment they did not say a word. Moreover, they revoked their representatives from the USSR Supreme Soviet and on December 12 they adopted and applauded the Belovezh Accords without a discussion. Incidentally, the Russian Communists’ stance then was: anything goes for the sake of ousting Gorbachev," he concluded.
Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the Soviet Union’s president on December 25, 1991. The Soviet Union ceased to exist on the same day.