Russian State Sovereignty

First Congress of the RSFSR People’s Deputies, Declaration on the State Sovereignty of the RSFSR. June 12, 1990

Original Source: Argumenty i fakty, No. 24 (1990), p. 1.

The First Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR,

  • aware of its historical responsibility for the fate of Russia,
  • bearing witness to respect for the sovereign rights of all peoples within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics,
  • expressing the will of the peoples of the RSFSR,

solemnly proclaims the State sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic throughout all of its territory and declares its resolve to create a democratic rule-of-law State within a renewed USSR.

1. The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic is a sovereign State created historically by the peoples combined therein.

2. The sovereignty of the RSFSR is a natural and necessary condition for the existence of the statehood of Russia, which has a history, culture, and traditions of many centuries.

3. The bearers of sovereignty and the source of State power in the RSFSR are its multi-national people. The people shall effectuate State power directly and through representative agencies on the basis of the Constitution of the RSFSR.

4. The State sovereignty of the RSFSR is proclaimed in the name of the highest aims — ensuring to every person his inalienable right to a life of dignity, to free development and use of his native tongue, and to each people, self-determination in the national-State and national-cultural forms which they choose.

5. In order to ensure the political, economic, and legal guarantees of the sovereignty of the RSFSR there shall be established:

  • the jurisdiction of the RSFSR when deciding all questions of State and social life, except for those which it voluntarily transfers to the jurisdiction of the USSR;
  • the supremacy of the RSFSR Constitution and laws of the RSFSR throughout the territory of the RSFSR; the effect of acts of the USSR which are contrary to the sovereign rights of the RSFSR shall be suspended by the Republic on its territory. Disagreements between the Republic and the Union shall be settled in the procedure established by the Treaty of the Union;
  • the exclusive right of the people to the possession, use, and disposition of the national wealth of Russia;
  • the plenipotentiary representation of the RSFSR in other union republics and foreign countries;
  • the right of the Republic to participate in the effectuation of powers transferred by it to the USSR.

6. The Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic shall be united with other republics into a Union on the basis of a Treaty. The RSFSR shall recognize and respect the sovereign rights of the union republics and the USSR.

7. The RSFSR shall retain the right of free secession from the USSR in the procedure established by the Treaty of the Union and legislation based thereon.

8. The territory of the RSFSR may not be changed without an expression of the will of the people reflected by means of a referendum.

9. The Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR confirms the necessity for a material expansion of the rights of the autonomous republics, autonomous regions, autonomous national areas, and likewise the territories and regions of the RSFSR. Specific questions of effectuating these rights should be determined by legislation of the RSFSR on the national-State and administrative-territorial structure of the Federation.

10. The rights and freedoms provided for by the RSFSR Constitution, USSR Constitution, and generally-recognized norms of international law shall be guaranteed to citizens and stateless persons residing on the territory of the RSFSR.

The representatives of nations and peoples residing in the RSFSR beyond the limits of their national-State formations or which do not exist on the territory of the RSFSR shall be ensured their legal political, economic, ethnic, and cultural rights.

11. Republic citizenship of the RSFSR shall be established on the entire territory of the RSFSR. Citizenship of the USSR shall be retained for each citizen of the RSFSR.

Citizens of the RSFSR beyond the limits of the Republic shall be under the protection and patronage of the RSFSR.

12. The RSFSR shall guarantee to all citizens, political parties, social organizations, mass movements, and religious organizations functioning with the framework of the RSFSR Constitution equal legal possibilities to participate in the administration of State and social affairs.

13. The separation of legislative, executive, and judicial power shall be a major principle of the functioning of the RSFSR as a rule-of-law State.

14. The RSFSR declares its adherence to generally-recognized principles of international law and readiness to live in peace and harmony with all countries and peoples, to take all measures not to permit confrontations in international, inter-republic, and inter-nationality relations, upholding in so doing the interests of the peoples of Russia.

15. The present Declaration shall be the basis for the working out of a new Constitution of the RSFSR, the conclusion of a Treaty of the Union, and the improvement of republic legislation.

Source: Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report. U.S. Dept. of Commerce; National Technical Information Service, 1991.

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