“At the disintegration of the USSR, Kazakhstan seceded from the Soviet Union without observing international law, so the country may be considered a territory of a ‘not entirely lawful nature”, Evgeny Fedorov told Gazeta.ru.
He refers in particular to the fact that procedures, provided for in [1990 USSR] Law No. 1407-1, were not followed. According to Article 1 of this Law, “The procedure of secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR is conducted by Article 72 of the Constitution of the USSR under the present Law”. According to Article 2, “The decision on the secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR is made by the will of the people of that Soviet Republic through a referendum”.
In claiming that Kazakhstan and some other post-Soviet republics seceded from the Soviet Union without observing proper legal procedures, Evgeny Fedorov and his like proceed, first of all, from the fact that such referendums were not conducted in those countries at the due time. But of course, that is something that can by no means be taken seriously, at least about Kazakhstan. It declared its independence as the Republic of Kazakhstan on December 16, 1991, i.e. eight days after the founding members of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, had signed (on December 8, 1991) the Belovezh agreements and thus had abolished the USSR.
According to Article 2 of [1990 USSR] Law No. 1407-1, “The referendum [on secession from the USSR] is to be held according to the referendum law of the USSR”. The question arose about the declaration of state independence of Kazakhstan just after the declaration of dissolution of the Soviet Union by its founders. In those circumstances, it would have been anachronistic to hold a referendum [on secession from the USSR] according to the referendum law of the USSR. How can it be possible to consider the question of maintaining loyalty to the State that has already been disintegrated?
And if to call things by their proper names, it should be said that Russia was the first one of the union republics of the Soviet Union to nullify the supremacy of the Constitution and laws of the USSR, and Kazakhstan was the last one. On June 12, 1990, the First Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Russia which ensured the primacy of the Russian Constitution and laws over the USSR’s ones throughout the Russian Federation. In the spring of 1991, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia engaged in activities of statehood restoration. On September 6, 1991, the Soviet Union recognized the independence of those three Baltic republics.
An independence referendum was held in Georgia on 31 March 1991. On 9th April 1991, following the results of that referendum, Georgia adopted an act on the restoration of Georgian independence. A referendum on secession and the creation of an independent state was held in Armenia on 21 September 1991. Two days later, the Supreme Council of Armenia confirmed the republic’s secession from the USSR based on the results of the referendum. Only these two union republics of the USSR seceded from the Soviet Union in compliance with the legal procedures, provided for in [1990 USSR] Law No. 1407-1. All the others of them took on such a task after the August coup of 1991 which accelerated the collapse of the USSR. They simply had no time left to deal with the issue of holding the independence referendum. The USSR then seemed to no longer exist, while, according to Law No. 1407-1, “The referendum is to be conducted by a secret vote not earlier than 6 months and not later than 9 months after the decision to conduct the secession referendum has been made by a Soviet Republic”. In the end, get what happened: on August 24, 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR adopted the Act of Proclamation of Independence of Ukraine and the Regulation ‘On Declaration of Independence of Ukraine’; on August 25, 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Byelorussian SSR gave the Declaration of State Sovereignty of Belarus status of constitutional law; on August 27, 1991, the Moldovan Parliament adopted the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Moldova from the Soviet Union; on August 31, 1991, at an extraordinary session of the Supreme Council of the Uzbek [Soviet Socialist] Republic was proclaimed the state independence of Uzbekistan; on the same day, an extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet of the Kyrgyz [Soviet Socialist] Republic adopted a resolution on the ‘Declaration on the independence of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan’. Similar regulations were adopted in Tajikistan on September 9, 1991, and in Turkmenistan on October 27, 1991.
From that point until December 16, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev formally was in command of only Kazakhstan as president of the USSR. Exactly nine days later, he resigned, closing the book on the Soviet Union. Thus, at the time of the signing of the Belovezh agreements and the formal dissolution of the Soviet Union, only the Kazakh [Soviet Socialist] Republic remained part of the USSR. If not for Kazakhstan, the leaders of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine would have probably signed the agreements on the dissolution of the USSR somewhat earlier.
All these are known facts, but not everyone remembers them. Among Russian politicians, public figures, and media celebrities, there are many, who use this factor to turn the facts upside-down and find fault with Kazakhstan. For instance, Russian political scientist Alexander Tsipko, who once was with the apparatus of the CPSU Central Committee, has for years claimed that in the 1950s, the then-Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev transferred half of what is now Kazakhstan, along with Karaganda and present-day Astana, from Russia to the then-Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. This is sheer fabrication, invented to support the idea that Northern Kazakhstan is said to constitute the so-called Russian South Siberia. But nobody in Kazakhstan publicly objects to this fabrication by Alexander Tsipko. This encourages other Russian public figures to follow his method. Evgeny Fedorov is just one of those.
One of the Kazakh MPs responded to his verbal attack on Kazakhstan. But this response seems to be so weak that Evgeny Fedorov now claims triumphantly that the ‘Kazakh MP did not present a single legal [counter-]argument and allowed himself to insult him’. In the event of serious disputes between officials, or MPs from different countries, turning to insults is normally regarded as a sign of weakness. Let us see what answer Astana gives to the latest comments by Evgeny Fedorov. Maybe, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry will come into play? For now, the Russian MP most probably feels triumphant.