1991 was the year of independence referendums and presidential elections in the republics of the Soviet Union. Not coincidentally, it was also the year the Soviet Union fell apart. Its Communist Party elite and institutions proved unable to continue ruling through intimidation or to overcome the powerful sweep of nationalism, stoked by the personal ambition of politicians and mediated through electoral politics. With varying defrees of satisfaction and eagerness, the Baltic States and the constituent republics struck out on their own.
The following is a compilation of reports by the Helsinki Commission on presidential elections and independence referendums in the Baltic States, the Soviet Union, and successor states in 1991 and 1992.