All-Union Referendum

(1991)
   In late 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed a referendum to the Congress of People’s Deputies that would determine the future of the Soviet state. Held on 17 March 1991, the poll asked the following question: “Do you consider it necessary to preserve the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as a renewed federation of equal sovereign republics in which human rights and freedoms of any nationality will be fully guaranteed?” While the Baltic States, Moldova, Armenia, and Georgia did not participate, the overall turnout was 80 percent (Lithuania and Georgia took the opportunity to poll their citizens on the declaration of independence from the USSR instead). More than three-quarters of all voters supported the preservation of the union. In the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, an additional question was added that resulted in nearly 70 percent of the electorate supporting the introduction of a directly elected president.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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