Today is the 20th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Armenia. The Declaration of Independence was adopted at the first session of the Armenian Supreme Council convoked on August 23, 1990. The document recognized invalid the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic and proclaimed the independent Republic of Armenia. The Supreme Council passed a resolution on holding a referendum on September 21, 1991 on becoming independent from USSR and establishment of independent statehood, with Armenia proclaimed as an independent, sovereign state. Ever since September 21 has been marked as Independence Day.
The Declaration of Independence says:
The Supreme Council of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
Expressing the united will of the Armenian people;
Aware of its historic responsibility for the destiny of the Armenian people engaged in the realization of the aspirations of all Armenians and the restoration of historical justice;
Proceeding from the principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the generally recognized norms of international law;
Exercising the right of nations to free self-determination;
Based on the December 1, 1989, joint decision of the Armenian SSR Supreme Council and the Artsakh National Council on the “Reunification of the Armenian SSR and the Mountainous Region of Karabakh;”
Developing the democratic traditions of the independent Republic of Armenia established on May 28, 1918;
The beginning of the process of establishing of independent statehood positioning the question of the creation of a democratic society based on the rule of law;
1. The Armenian SSR is renamed the Republic of Armenia (Armenia). The Republic of Armenia shall have its flag, coat of arms, and anthem.
2. The Republic of Armenia is a self-governing state, endowed with the supremacy of state authority, independence, sovereignty, and plenipotentiary power.Only the constitution and laws of the Republic of Armenia are valid for the whole territory of the Republic of Armenia.
3. The bearer of the Armenian statehood is the people of the Republic of Armenia, which exercises the authority directly and through its representative bodies on the basis of the constitution and laws of the Republic of Armenia. The right to speak on behalf of the people of the Republic of Armenia belongs exclusively to the Supreme Council of Armenia.
4. All citizens living on the territory of Armenia are granted citizenship of the Republic of Armenia. Armenians of the Diaspora have the right of citizenship of Armenia. The citizens of the Republic of Armenia are protected and aided by the Republic. The Republic of Armenia guarantees the free and equal development of its citizens regardless of national origin, race, or creed.
5. With the purpose of guaranteeing the security of the Republic of Armenia and the inviolability of its borders, the Republic of Armenia creates its own armed forces, internal troops, organs of state and public security under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council. The Republic of Armenia has its share of the USSR military apparatus. The Republic of Armenia determines the regulation of military service for its citizens independently. Military units of other countries, their military bases and building complexes can be located on the territory of the Republic of Armenia only by a decision of Armenia’s Supreme Council. The armed forces of the Republic of Armenia can be deployed only by a decision of its Supreme Council.
6. As the subject of international law, the Republic of Armenia conducts an independent foreign policy; it establishes direct relations with other states, national-state units of the USSR, and participates in the activity of international organizations.
7. The national wealth of the Republic of Armenia – the land, the earth’s crust, airspace, water, and other natural resources, as well as economic and intellectual, cultural capabilities are the property of its people. The regulation of their governance, usage, and possession is determined by the laws of the Republic of Armenia.
The v has the right to its share of the USSR national wealth, including the supplies of gold and diamond, and hard currency funds.
8. The Republic of Armenia determines the principles and regulation of its economic system, creates its own money, national bank, finance-loan system, tax and custom services, based on the system of multiple forms of property ownership.
9. On its territory, the Republic of Armenia guarantees freedom of speech, press, and conscience; separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers; a multi-party system; equality of political parties under the law; depolitization of law enforcement bodies and armed forces.
10. The Republic of Armenia guarantees the use of Armenian as the state language in all spheres of the Republic’s life; the Republic creates its own system of education and of scientific and cultural development.
11. The Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.
12. This declaration serves as the basis for the development of the constitution of the Republic of Armenia and, until such time as the new constitution is approved, as the basis for the introduction of amendments to the current constitution; and for the operation of state authorities and the development of new legislation for the Republic.