MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) – Members of Russia’s lower house of parliament have filed a request with the prosecutor general demanding the breakup of the Soviet Union be declared illegal and those responsible be prosecuted, including former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Russian media reported Thursday.
According to the Izvestia newspaper, the request, filed by members of several parties, says that in a 1991 referendum Soviet citizens voted to maintain the state’s territorial integrity, but the country’s leaders then committed illegal acts that led to the collapse.
In November 1991, a criminal proceeding was launched against Gorbachev, but the charges were dropped on the next day.
One of the initiators of the request, United Russia deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov, told RIA Novosti that the move was driven by a necessity to investigate the mechanisms of coups staged from abroad in the wake of current events in Ukraine.
The deputies hope that an investigation will result in a number of criminal cases, including against Gorbachev.
The former Soviet leader is accused of creating the USSR State Council, which was not provided for under the Soviet Constitution. The council was responsible for recognizing the independence of the Baltic states, which were the first Soviet republics to declare independence.
In response to the lawmakers’ request, Gorbachev said that he was ready to cooperate with the prosecutor general’s office in the investigation.
“If the prosecutor’s office is set to investigate this issue I am ready to offer my help. And here is my response to the deputies: all those who voted in favor of the Belavezha Accord, together with those who signed it, should be assembled together and sent to Magadan, without any trial and court decisions,” Gorbachev told Russia’s Echo of Moscow radio station.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the first and the last president of the Soviet Union. He announced his resignation in December 1991, after 11 of the former Soviet republics had established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), effectively dismantling the USSR.