Bolshevik-communist totalitarian empire from the middle of the 1980s was starting to show all features of intransitive crisis – economic, political, and social. The need in fundamental reforms in political system of the country, economic and public relations was becoming more obvious. In March 1985 Mikhaylo Horbachov, the youngest member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was elected as the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held in April. At this plenary session the course was set for accelerated socio-economic development of the state, which was renamed as “perestroika” (literally “rebuilding”). Even though proclaimed rebuilding was the “revolution that was coming from the top”, which was planned as the strictly controlled series of measures limited in time, but before long events that happened broke this scheme.
Liberalization of public and political life began in the Ukrainian SSR under the slogan of proclaimed “glasnost” (literally “publicity”). About 300 political prisoners were released from prisons in 1986, V.Chornovil, M.Horyn, L.Lukyanenko and many others among them. Paragraphs about persecution for ideological convictions were excluded from the Criminal code of the Ukrainian SSR. The policy of “socialist pluralism” was a new phenomenon, which later developed into the freedom of speech. A number of publications, which were inaccessible for a long time, were finally published: secret protocols of Soviet-German pact of 1939, documents about the Famine of 1932-1933, about activists of the Central Council of Ukraine and the Directory, about Stalin repressions, activity of OUN-UIA during the years of the Second World War. Works written by V.Vynnychenko, representatives of the “Shot Renaissance” M.Khvylyovyi, Mykhaylo Kulish, Mykola Zerov, repressed during the years of “stagnation” V.Stus, Ye.Sverstyuk, Ihor and Iryna Kalynets were published.
The policy of “glasnost” caused formation of many uncontrollable by the official government “informal” organizations. The “Ukrainian Culture club” (UCC) was founded in 1987 in Kyiv. Its members openly demonstrated their position to the government by organizing discussions about hidden pages of the Soviet history and exchanging opinions concerning the problems of the Ukrainian language and culture. At the same time another youth organization – “The Lion Society” was founded in Lviv. This organization was uniting people of different political opinions that were interested in culture and politics.
Strengthening of political activity in the society, weakening of political and ideological censorship, development of national self-awareness, liquidation of economic monopolism of the state contributed to the creation of multiparty system in Ukraine during the time of “perestroika”. The first stage was founding public and political organization “People’s movement of Ukraine for the Reconstruction”. The initiative to set it up came from Kyiv organization of the Writers’ Union and Institute of Literature of the Academy of sciences of the Ukrainian SSR. The organization was supporting economic, political and ideological pluralism; it was headed by the poet Ivan Drach.
The new stage of democratization and separation of political forces started in Ukraine in 1990 – new political parties were formed. Among them the most influential were the Democratic party of Ukraine (DPU), which was claiming the creation of “Independent United Ukrainian State”; headed by the former political prisoner Levko Lukyanenko the Ukrainian Republican Party (URP), which was encouraging people to boycott decisions of the government and to organize strikes; the Party of Democratic Renaissance of Ukraine (PDVU) that united those who left the Communist party of Ukraine; the Ukrainian Peasant democratic party (USDP), the Ukrainian National Party (UNP) that supported cancellation of the agreement about creation of the USSR and withdrawal of “occupational armed forces” from all Ukrainian territory. At the same time political position of the Communist Party of Ukraine was weakened and many of its members left, which led in March 1990 to cancellation of constitutional statement about ruling and directive role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the life of Soviet community.
Centralized policy of the government, which was completely ignoring interests of union republics, pushed Ukrainian politicians to formulate the idea of the sovereignty of Ukraine. On July 16th, 1990, the Supreme Court of the Ukrainian SSR decreed the Declaration on the state sovereignty of Ukraine. It proclaimed rule, independence, absoluteness and indivisibility of the authority of republic within its territory, independence and equality in external affairs. The people were proclaimed to be the only source of state power, and the Supreme Court of the Ukrainian SSR could take up their cause.
In 1991 favorable conditions prevailed (collapse of the USSR, struggle for the power in Moscow) that neither Soviet center, nor Russian center couldn’t stop the process of Ukraine achieving its independence. Unsuccessful attempt of coup d’état on August 19-21, 1991, in Moscow forced the collapse of the USSR. On the outskirts of the Soviet empire local nomenclature, using the striving of nations for independent development and supporting the slogans of independence, came to power. After Ukraine was proclamed as independent on August 24th, 1991, the USSR de facto stopped existing. Legal confirmation of the process of the USSR collapse ended with signing of international agreement on December 8th, 1991, in Bilovezka Pushcha. On December 26th, 1991, one of the chambers of the Supreme Court of the USSR – the Council of Republics – degreed the formal declaration about the formal dissolution of the USSR.