Successors of the Soviet Union
Post-Soviet Russia and its neighbors (12 December 1991)
Historical Map of Russia & the former Soviet Union
The failure of the 1991 August coup broke the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. Real power now lay in the hands of the component republics, notably Russia and Ukraine. In December, these two countries and Belarus signed the Belavezha Accords, declaring the Soviet Union dissolved.
Changes to the map 06 September 1991 - 12 December 1991
The Soviet Union at this point had questionable authority outside of its offices in Moscow, although Soviet troops were still present across the republics (except for Russia and Ukraine, which had nationalized the forces on their soil). Kazakhstan had not yet declared independence.
Independence of Tajikistan
The Republic of Tajikistan declared its independence, seceding from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Less than nine months later, the country would collapse into civil war, requiring the continued presence of Soviet/Russian troops.
Independence of Armenia
Following an overwhelming referendum vote in favor of secession, the Republic of Armenia declared its full independence and seceded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Independence of Turkmenistan
Following a referendum in which 94% vote for independence, the Turkmen Socialist Soviet Republic seceded from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, declaring independence as Turkmenistan.
The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria was proclaimed by Dzhokhar Dudayev, seceding from both the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
Independence of Ukraine
The government of Ukraine held a referendum on its 24 August 1991 Act of Declaration of Independence, with 92.3% of votes supporting the secession of Ukraine from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. On the same day, Leonid Kravchuk, the parliament chairman and de facto head of state, was elected to serve as the first President of Ukraine.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk, and Belarusian Parliament Chairman Stanislav Shushkevich signed the Belavezha Accords in Belarus, declaring the Soviet Union dissolved. The three nations - the surviving original republics-signatories of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR - agreed to replace the Union with a decentralized regional organization (the Commonwealth of Independent States) upon the accords taking effect on 12 December 1991.
Independence of Belarus
The Republic of Belarus declared its independence from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, in accordance with the Belavezha Accords agreed between itself, Russia, and Ukraine two days earlier.
The Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic formally ratified the Belavezha Accords, renouncing the 1922 Treaty of Union, and recalled its deputies from the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This effectively marked its secession from the USSR.