December 30, 1922 – Creation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

On this day in history, representatives of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Transcaucus approved the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR and the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR, creating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Although valid and strictly enforced for 69 years, historian Peter Roudik reveals that the Treaty was never actually formally passed in its final form. In November, 1922, the heads of national delegations met for a conference and agreed on major principles for the treaty. Joseph Stalin, who at that time was the Commissar of Nationality Affairs, reported the outcome of the conference to the full All-Union Congress on December 30, 1922.  He ended his speech asking the delegates to approve the treaty “immediately and unanimously as it is usually done by the communists.” 

Stalin (right) with Lenin in 1922

Stalin (right) with Lenin in 1922

Contrary to Stalin’s recommendation, the delegates opted for the treaty to be adopted as a basic concept and be sent to the legislatures of the constituent republics for further discussion. They would postpone final ratification until the next session of the Congress the following year.

The treaty was never discussed again, but rather, just received formal confirmation by the second All-Union Congress of Soviets in January, 1924. This might have been because by this time, anyone opposed to Stalin was meeting an early demise.

The treaty remained in force until December 1991, when the USSR constituent republics denounced the treaty and dissolved the USSR.  The dissolution was based on Article 26, which provided for the right to leave the Union.

The USSR in 1991

The USSR in 1991

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