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1990 USSR Law on Secession

Concerning the procedure of secession of a Soviet Republic from the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics.

The law of the USSR of April 3, 1990 (Register of the Congress of the People's Deputies of
USSR and Supreme Soviet of USSR. 1990, issue No. 13, p. 252)


Article 1.
The procedure of secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR is conducted in accordance with the Article 72 of the Constitution of the USSR under the present Law.

Article 2.
The decision on secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR is made by the will of the people of that Soviet Republic by means of a referendum.

The decision to conduct a referendum is to be ratified by the Supreme Soviet of a Soviet Republic based either on its own will or on the request made by the 10% of permanent residents who have a right to vote according to the USSR laws.

The referendum is to be conducted according to the referendum law of the USSR, referendum law of a given Soviet or autonomous Republic if they do not contradict this law.

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.

Citizens of the USSR, permanently residing on the territory of the Republic by the time the decision to conduct a referendum is made and who have a right to vote according to the USSR laws, have a right to participate in the referendum.

No agitation on the subject of the referendum is allowed during the course of the referendum.

Article 3.
In case the Soviet Republic has autonomous republics, autonomous regions or autonomous territories within its borders, referendums are to be conducted separately in each of the autonomies. The people residing in the autonomies are given a right to independently decide whether to remain in the Soviet Union or in the seceding Republic as well as to decide on their state legal status.

Referendum results are to be considered separately for the territory of a Soviet Republic with a compactly settled ethnic minority population, which constitutes majority on that particular territory of the Republic.

Article 4.
For the purpose of organizing, deciding the dates, and reviewing the results of a secession referendum, the Supreme Soviet of the given Republic is to form a commission with participation of all interested parties, including the ones mentioned in the first and second parts of the Article 3 of this law.

Article 5.
To guarantee free expression of the will of the peoples of Soviet Republics during the preparation, the course and the review of the results of a referendum on secession from the USSR, the Supreme Soviet of USSR with consent of the Supreme Soviet of the given Soviet Republic provides for observers representing the USSR, Soviet and autonomous republics and autonomous entities. The Supreme Council of the USSR may, if it finds necessary, invite observers from the United Nations to the territory of a given Republic.

Article 6.
Decision of a Soviet Republic to secede from the USSR must be made by means of a referendum if so voted by not less than two-thirds of the citizens of the USSR, who permanently resided on the territory of the Republic and are eligible to vote in accordance with laws of the USSR by the time the decision was made to conduct a referendum on secession from the Soviet Union.

Results of a referendum are to be reviewed by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Republic. In a republic, which has autonomous republics, autonomous regions, autonomous territories or territories with compactly settled national minority population as mentioned in Article 3 of the present Law within its borders, the results of the referendum are to be reviewed by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Republic jointly with the Supreme Soviet of the autonomous republic and respective Soviets of People's Deputies.

The Supreme Soviet of a Soviet Republic then submits the results of the referendum to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Republic which has autonomous republics, autonomous regions, autonomous territories or territories with a compactly settled national minority population within its borders as mentioned in second part of Article 3 of the present Law submits the results for each autonomous republic, autonomous region, autonomous territory or territory with a compactly settled national minority population to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR separately along with necessary conclusions and suggestions made by respective state authorities. If it is verified that the referendum is conducted in accordance with the law, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR takes it to the Congress of the People's Deputies of USSR for review.

Article 7.
In case the law is violated during the course of the referendum, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR makes a decision to conduct a second referendum, not later than in the course of three months in a given Republic, or one of its parts, or an autonomous entity, or the territory with a compactly settled national minority population as mentioned in the second part of Article 3 of this law.

Article 8.
The Supreme Soviet of the USSR forwards the results of the referendum on secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR along with the suggestions made by the interested parties to the highest state authorities of all Soviet and autonomous republics as well as to the state authorities of autonomous entities for the purpose of study and evaluation of possible consequences for each Soviet and autonomous republic as well as autonomous entity in the event the actual secession of a respective Soviet Republic from the USSR takes place.

Article 9.
Results of a referendum on secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR, as well as the opinion of the highest state authorities of Soviet, autonomous Republics as well as the state authorities of autonomous regions and territories is to be reviewed by the Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR. Upon the presentation of results by the Supreme Soviet in conformity with the Supreme Soviet of a seceding Republic, the Congress of People's Deputies sets an interim period, which is not to exceed five years and during which problems arising in connection with the secession of the Republic from the USSR are to be resolved.

During that interim period the Constitution of the USSR as well as all other USSR Laws are to be in full effect.

Article 10.
In case the Republic did not pass the decision to secede from the USSR based on results of the referendum, a new referendum on the same issue may be conducted not earlier than 10 years after the previous referendum took place.

Article 11.
The Supreme Soviet of the USSR, Supreme Soviets of Soviet Republics and the body of the highest state authority of the seceding republic are to form coordinating committees for the interim period in order to guarantee the rights and interests of the Soviet Union, the seceding as well as other republics, autonomous entities and ethnic groups as mentioned in part two of Article 3 of the present law.

Article 12.
During the interim period, the Council of Ministers of the USSR with the participation of the government of the seceding republic prepares suggestions on issues concerning the State borders of the USSR, as well as the military installations and bases of the Armed Forces of the USSR located on the territory of the seceding republic and submits them for review to the President of the USSR and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, who thereafter submit suggestions to the Congress of the People's Deputies of the USSR for review.

Article 13.
The seceding republic is to observe universally recognized principles and norms of international law, human rights and freedoms as mentioned in the international conventions to which USSR is a party. The issue of participation of the seceding republic in the open-to-join multilateral agreements, which were signed by the USSR, is to be decided according to the rules and regulation of a given agreement. Multilateral and bilateral agreements, which were signed by the USSR and which are still in effect at the time of secession of a Soviet Republic from the USSR are to have a full effect on the seceding republic if not agreed otherwise.

The Council of Ministers of the USSR submits its conclusions to the President of the USSR and the Supreme Soviet of the USSR upon reviewing and regulating all issues concerning the participation of the USSR in international agreements in connection with the secession of a Soviet Republic.

Article 14.
During the interim period the Council of Ministers of the USSR, bodies of state government of
Soviet and autonomous republics, autonomous entities jointly with the government of the seceding republic settle the issues of property and financial matters.

During the interim period the following issues are to be resolved between the seceding republic and the USSR as well as between the seceding republic and other Soviet Republics, autonomous republics, autonomous entities and national groups as defined in part two of Article 3 of the present Law:
1. The status of the Soviet property on the territory of the seceding republic (industrial enterprises and complexes of industry, space research, energy, communication, sea, rail and air transportation, pipelines, property of the Armed Forces of the USSR, defense and other installations), as well as the property of all-Soviet non-governmental organizations;
2. The property, financial and credit relations of the seceding republic with the USSR;
3. The property, financial and credit relations of the seceding republic with other Soviet Republics as well as with autonomous republic and autonomous entities;
4. The procedure of completing the agreements signed between the industrial enterprises and organizations located on the territory of the seceding Republic and industrial enterprises and organizations located on the territory of other Soviet Republics, autonomous republics or autonomous entities;
5. The legal status and forms of settling accounts of joint enterprises and subsidiaries of enterprises created on the bases of the USSR property and property of other Soviet republics, autonomous republics or autonomous entities;
6. The procedure of settling accounts with other nations and international organizations on credits and loans, received for the purposes of building of property on the territory of the seceding republic or for needs of the republic and its people, as well as settling accounts on credits and loans which were spent on the USSR purchases and programs, which the seceding republic used;
7. The status of territories that were not legally part of the seceding republic at the time the republic joined the USSR;
8. The status of territories with a compactly settled ethnic minority population as defined in part two of Article 3 of the present Law taking into account the outcomes of the referendum;
9. Guarantees for secure protection of historic and cultural monuments and ancient burial sites on the territory of the seceding republic;
10. All other issues to be resolved mutually.

Article 13.
Citizens of the USSR who reside on the territory of the seceding republic are given a choice of citizenship, place of residence and work. The seceding republic is to compensate all costs connected with citizens leaving their territory.

Article 16.
In accordance with universally recognized principles and norms of international law and international obligations of USSR the seceding republic is to guarantee all civil, political, social, economic, cultural and other rights and freedoms of citizens of the USSR which remain on its territory without any acts of discrimination based on race, skin color, sex, language, religion, political or other beliefs, ethnic or social origin, welfare, place or time of birth.

Article 17.
Citizens of the seceding republic, convicted in its court of law and currently serving terms on the territory of the USSR are to be transferred to the seceding republic to serve the rest of the term on its territory.

Citizens of the seceding republic, convicted in the courts of law of USSR or other Soviet Republics and currently serving terms on the territory of the USSR are to be transferred to the mentioned republic if they had committed crimes for which they have been convicted on the territory of that republic.

The issues concerning the transfer of citizens of seceding republic which have been convicted in courts of law of the USSR or other Soviet Republic in case at least one of the crimes is committed on the territory other than that of the seceding republic are to be reviewed by the Prosecutor General of the USSR or by the intercession of the Supreme Court of the seceding republic.

Citizens of USSR, citizens of foreign countries and persons with no citizenship convicted by courts of law of the USSR or any Soviet Republic and currently serving the term on the territory of the seceding republic are to be transferred to the USSR.

Article 18.
All administrative and criminal cases brought to the court based on crimes committed on the territory of the seceding territory and which are currently under investigation by the appropriate authorities of the USSR are to be transferred to the proper authorities of the seceding republic via the Public Prosecutor's Office of the USSR or the Supreme Court of the USSR. This rule does not apply to cases in which at least one of the crimes is committed on the territory other than that of the seceding republic as well as to criminal cases to be handled by the military tribunal. The issues of transfer are to be handled by the Prosecutor General of the USSR upon request of a lower-ranking prosecutor or a prosecutor of the seceding republic. When a case is in the judicial production stage the Supreme Court of the USSR is the one making the request. During the interim period all civil cases are to be settled according to all civil and civil procedural laws of the USSR if not otherwise intended by an agreement between the seceding republic and the USSR.

Article 19.
During the last year of the interim period the referendum may be repeated to confirm the decision of the Soviet Republic to secede from the USSR if initiated by the highest body of government of the seceding republic. Second referendum is obligatory if one tenth of the citizens of the USSR permanently residing on the territory of the republic and having a right to vote according to the laws of the USSR demand to do so.

 


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