Original End-of-USSR Treaty ‘Missing’

MINSK, February 7 (RIA Novosti) – The original 1991 agreement on the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is missing, a representative of the CIS Executive Committee said on Thursday.

The leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine met in the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Natural Reserve in Belarus in 1991 and signed an agreement, thus founding the CIS. The agreement said all the members were sovereign and independent nations and thereby effectively abolished the Soviet Union.

The representative said the Executive Committee only has a copy of the document and that the Belarusian Foreign Ministry or the actual signatories do not have the original, either.

“When the Belovezhskaya Pushcha Agreement was signed, the CIS did not exist yet. We received notarized copies that are legally equivalent to the original,” the Executive Committee representative said.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry promised to “look for the document.”

“We will see what could be done along these lines,” Belarusian Foreign Ministry press secretary Andrei Savinykh said.

Former Belarusian leader Stanislav Shushkevich, who had signed the agreement, said that after the signing the original was taken by Belarusian Foreign Ministry officials, including then-Foreign Minister Pyotr Kravchenko. However, the latter said he only had copies of the agreement, not the original.

Shushekvich also said he did not remember exactly how many originals had been signed.

“We most likely signed three – one for Belarus, Russia and Ukraine each, but I do not rule out that there is only one original document,” he said.


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