This Day in the Law
June 12

Russia Day: Russian Parliament Declares Sovereignty of Russia (1990)

On June 12, 1990, the Russian Parliament formally declared its sovereignty and created the sovereign state of Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In particular, the First Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian Federation adopted the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federation (commonly called the Declaration).

The Soviet Union existed prior to the state of Russia. However, the Soviet Union began to collapse into independent nations in the 1980s. The Soviet Union faced many internal and external pressures, discontent, and a weak economy. The Soviet Union finally collapsed from the following 15 independent states: (1) Armenia, (2) Azerbaijan, (3) Belarus, (4) Estonia, (5) Georgia, (6) Kazakhstan, (7) Kyrgyzstan, (8) Latvia, (9) Lithuania, (10) Moldova, (11) Russia, (12) Tajikistan, (13) Turkmenistan, (14) Ukraine, and (15) Uzbekistan.

The Russian people quickly worked to form a new government in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, and “Russia Day" was officially established as a national holiday to commemorate Russia’s independence in 1994. However, most Russian people simply view modern Russia as an extension of the former Soviet Union. As such, many Russians do not commemorate Russia Day. Nevertheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia Day acts as an effective reminder of the Russian’s people’s choice to enter a new and more open form of government.

The adoption of the Russian Declaration based Russia’s sovereignty on principles of federalism and equality. For example, the Declaration sets forth the following: equal legal opportunities for all citizens; the separation of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government; and has given certain rights to regions and territories of Russia. Boris Yeltsin was elected the first president of Russia.