- January 1 — A drafting committee is formed to work on a final version of the New Union Treaty. Six of the 15 Soviet republics (Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova) do not participate in the drafting.
- March 6 — The first version of the New Union Treaty is approved by the Soviet of the Union and sent to the individual Supreme Soviets of the republics for final approval. An agreement could not be reached on the distribution of power between the federal government and the republics, resulting in the first bill being unapproved. Added to the disappointment, several of the autonomous republics express their desire to raise their status within the Soviet Union and demand to take part in the drafting of a new treaty.
- March 17 — A union-wide referendum is held across the Soviet Union. The referendum questioned the Soviet people on their support for preserving a Soviet state, with over 77% of the population voting yes. Despite the referendum being boycotted by six republics and the Chechen people, Mikhail Gorbachev's approval gains a boost.
- March 31 — An independence referendum is held in Georgia, in which the vast majority of Georgians favor independence from the Soviet Union. Georgia officially declares independence on April 9.
- April 23 — An agreement is made between the central government of the Soviet Union and nine of the 15 republics. The so called "9+1 agreement" is signed in Moscow, with the goal of converting the USSR into a federation of equal and sovereign republics. The agreement also results in the popularization of the name Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics to be adopted as a new formal name for the Soviet Union.
- August 18 — A Tupolev Tu-154 crashes along the border of Russia and the Ukraine. On board were four government officials on their way to the Crimea. Mikhail Gorbachev cuts his vacation short to visit the crash site and announces a national state of mourning. It was also announced that the signing of the New Union Treaty was to remain on schedule.
- August 20 — Representatives from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan ratify the New Union Treaty. The Union Treaty of 1922 becomes null and void and establishes a new nation known as the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics. The remaining republics of the USSR begin the process of ratifying the treaty in time or to prepare for independence.
- August 23 — Gennady Yanayev announces his resignation as the Vice President of the Soviet Union. The position would remain vacant until the following year.
- August 30 — The republics of Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan ratify the New Union Treaty.
- September 6 — The Soviet Union formally recognizes the independence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
- September 21 — Armenia holds and their independence referendum, with over 90% of Armenians favoring independence from the Soviet Union. Armenia declares their independence shortly afterwards.
- September 25 — After weeks of discussion, the republics of Azerbaijan and Ukraine ratify the New Union Treaty. For all intents and purposes, the former Soviet Union had now ceased to exist.
- September 27 — Moldova unilaterally declares their independence from the Soviet Union. The break-away regions of Gagauzia and Transnistria oppose this.
- December 13 — A constituent assembly is established to establish a new constitution for the Soviet Union.
- March 2 — Moldovan and Romanian troops cross the Dniester River into Transnistria. In response, Mikhail Gorbachev orders the deployment of Soviet troops into the break-away republic. The Transnistria War begins.
- May 14 — A new constitution comes into affect for the Soviet Union. The New Union Treaty ceases to act as the temporary constitution.
- May 15 — The Collective Security Treaty is ratified between Armenia and the Soviet Union, establishing the CSTO.
- June 21 — The first multiparty elections are held across the Soviet Union. Independent Nikolai Ryzhkov is elected to the presidency of the USSR. In the legislative elections, the Communist Party is able to hold the Soviet of Republics, while an anti-communist bloc (headed by the Liberal Democratic Party) wins the Soviet of the Union.
- July 21 — Moldovan troops are called out of the break-away regions of Gagauzia and Transnistria. The Transnistria War comes to an end.
- August 14 — Georgian troops are dispatched to the break-away republic of Abkhazia. The Soviet Union responds by sending troops into both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The War in Abkhazia begins.
- September 23 — The Soviet Union annexes the four break-away regions of Abkhazia, Gagauzia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria (which all become new republics of the USSR).
- November 3 — Bill Clinton is elected President of the United States (defeating incumbent George Bush).
- March 6
- Legislative elections are held within the Soviet Union. The Communist Party loses control in both houses of the Supreme Soviet to an anti-Communist bloc (led by the Liberal Democratic Party).
- A close majority of Moldovans vote against the continued independence of Moldova. Efforts towards reunification with Romania intensify.
- June 16 — Communist and Russian Vice President, Alexander Rutskoy, defeats incumbent Boris Yeltsin for the presidency of Russia.
- December 13 — The majority of those living in Puerto Rico vote in favor for statehood within the United States.
- November 7 — Vice President Al Gore defeats George W. Bush to become the next President of the United States.
- September 11 — A group of Al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four American airliners and use in a series of terrorists acts. Two are flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the third is flown into the Pentagon, and the fourth crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. For the first time in aviation history, all air traffic within American airspace are ordered to either land or are diverted elsewhere. The War on Terror has effectively begun.
- March 4 — In the closest elections ever held in the Soviet Union, challenger Valentina Tereshkova narrowly defeats incumbent Alexander Lebed for the presidency of the Soviet Union.
- May 9 — To commemorate the 65th anniversary of Nazi Germany's defeat in World War II, the armed forces of France, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States march in the annual Victory Day Parade held in Moscow (becoming the first time these nations have participated in the events).
- August 7 — Due to a record breaking heatwave, wildfires break out across the Soviet Union. In Moscow alone, deadly smog delays air traffic and the average death rate doubles. President Valentina Tereshkova declares a state of emergency across the USSR.