With the country in a state of near collapse, Gorbachev's vision of a renewed union effectively received a fatal blow by a Ukrainian referendum on 1 December, where the Ukrainian people overwhelmingly voted for independence.
However, on 12 December, the RSFSR Supreme Soviet ratified the Belevezha Accords and denounced the 1922 Union Treaty. It was now apparent that the momentum towards dissolution could not be stopped. Shortly after the RSFSR ratified the Accords, Gorbachev hinted that he was considering stepping aside. On 17 December, he accepted the fait accompli and reluctantly agreed with Yeltsin to dissolve the
On the night of 25 December, in a nationally televised speech, Gorbachev announced his resignation as president—as he put it, "I hereby discontinue my activities at the post of President of the
Gorbachev had aimed to maintain the CPSU as a united party but move it in the direction of Scandinavian-style social democracy. But when the CPSU was proscribed after the August coup, Gorbachev was left with no effective power base beyond the armed forces. In the aftermath of the coup, his rival Yeltsin quickly worked to consolidate his hold on the Russian government as well as the remnants of the Soviet armed forces, paving the way for Gorbachev's downfall.