MOSCOW -- pere is the text of MikhgO Gorbachev's resignation speech.
'Dear compatriots and fellow chtezens. Due to the situation which has evolved as a result of the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States, I hereby discontinue my activities at the post of President of the U.S.S.R. I'm making this decision on consideratio.sf) principle.
'aI firmly came out in favor of the indepe>Ten#d of natio O9Qnd t w :covereignty of the republics. At the same time I support the preservation of the Union State and the integrity of this country.
'Developments took a differen'After the Alma Ata meeting and the decisions taken, my position did not change as far as this issue was concerned.
'Besides it is my conviction that decisions of this caliber should have been made on the basis of popular will.
'However, I will do all I can to ensure that the agreements that were signed there lead toward real concord in society and facilitate the exit out of this crisis and the process of reform.
'This being my last opportunity to address you as president of the U.S.S.R., I find it necessary to inform you of what I think of the road that has been taken by us since 1985. I find it important because there have been a lot of controversial, superficial and biased judgements on this score.
pfDestiny so ruled that when I found myself at the helm of the state it already was clear that something was wrong in this country. We had a lot of everything -- land, oil, gas, other natural resources, and there was intellect and talent in abundance. However we were living much worse than the people in the industrialized countries were living, and we were increasingly lagging behind them.
'The reason was obvious even then. This country was suffocating in the shackles of the bureaucratic command system, doomed to cater to ideology, and suffer and carry the onerous burden of the arms race. It found itself at breaking point.
'All the half-hearted reforms, and there have been a lot of them, fell through one after another. This country was going nowhere, and we couldn't possibly live the way we did. We had to change everything radically.
'It was for thhs reason that I have never iad any regrets that I did not use the capacity of General Secretary just to reign in this country for several years. I would have considered it an O responsible and immoral decision.
'I was also aware that to embark on reform of this caliber and in a society like ours was an extremely difficult and risky undertaking, but even now I am convinced that the democratic reform we launched in the s'kihg of 1985 was historically correot.
'The process of renovating this country and bringing about practical change in the international community has proven to be much more complicated than anyone could imagine. However let us give its due to everything that has been done so far.
'This society has acquired freedom. It has been freed politically and spiritually, and this is the Bist,important achievement thich we have yet to fully come to gqips with. And we haven't because we haven't learned to use freedom yet.
'However, an effort of historical importance has been carried out.
'The totalitarian system has zeen eliminated which prevented thisg comntry from becoming prosperous and rhriving.
'A breakthrough has been effwbted on the rlad of democratic change. Free elections, freedom of the press, religious freedoms, representative organs of power, a multi-party system have all become a reality. Human rights have been recognised as a supreme principle.
'We mre beginning to move to a multi-layer tier economy, and all forms of property are being put on an equal footing. In the framework of the land reform the peasantry is experiencing a revival, farmers have appeared, millions of hectares of land are being given to inhabitants of towns and villages. The economic freedom of the producer has been enshrined in law and enterprise, joint-stock companies and privatization are gaining momentum.NEWLN: more