June 28 - July 1, 1988, the XIX Party Conference was held, which marked the beginning of constitutional reforms in the USSR. According to the decisions of the conference, it was supposed to resume the activities of the Congress of People's Deputies with the preservation of the USSR Armed Forces. Elections to the congress should have been held both in constituencies and from public organizations (1/3 - 750 delegates). At the extraordinary 12th session of the USSR Supreme Council of the 11th convocation on December 1, 1988, changes were made to the Constitution. The conference also marked the opposition of the center and the republics; upon its completion, a law was passed in Estonia on the supremacy of the Constitution of Estonia over the Constitution of the USSR on the territory of the republic.
Constitutional changes took place against the background of interethnic conflicts, among which the most acute in 1988-1990. there were contradictions between Armenia and Azerbaijan because of Nagorno-Karabakh, which soon turned into pogroms (February 1988 - Sumgayit), and then into a protracted war. Subsequently, the USSR was shocked by the bloody events in Fergana (1989) and in the Osh region of Kyrgyzstan (1990). Armed conflicts in 1991 took place in the Caucasus, where territorial problems between Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and other autonomous and allied republics were solved in this way. The escalation of violence in the late 80s. became possible as a result of the disintegration of the unifying role of the center.
In March 1989, elections were held for the Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR. Gorbachev was elected chairman of the Supreme Council at the first congress of people's deputies of the USSR, which opened in May. Despite the fact that many representatives of the party nomenclature did not pass in single-mandate constituencies, Gorbachev managed to enlist the support of the majority of the congress. At the same time, being in a relative minority, the radical-minded deputies on the last day of the congress formed the Inter-regional group of people's deputies (co-chairs of the group: Sakharov, Yeltsin, Afanasyev, Popov, Palm). They advocated the acceleration of political and economic reforms in the USSR, and the radical reform of Soviet society.
In the autumn of 1989, the II Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR was held, taking place against the background of revolutionary reforms in Eastern Europe. The events in the countries of the former socialist bloc contributed to the polarization of the congress. The radical minority, which, after his death during the days of the Sakharov congress, was headed by Yeltsin, demanded the abolition of article 6 of the USSR Constitution, which consolidated the monopoly of the CPSU on power. In turn, the conservative majority pointed to destabilizing disintegration processes in the USSR and, therefore, the need to strengthen the powers of the center (the Soyuz group). Under these conditions, Gorbachev, in the interval between the Second and Third Congresses of the USSR People’s Deputies, goes to abolish Article 6, at the same time initiating the question of the need for additional powers of the executive branch. The Third Congress on March 15, 1990 agrees to the introduction of the institution of presidency in the USSR and elects M. S. Gorbachev at the congress as President of the USSR.
The additional powers received by Gorbachev were somewhat depreciated by the formation in 1990 of an opposition-minded to the center republican congress of deputies. The First Congress of People's Deputies of the RSFSR chooses Boris N. Yeltsin as its head and, on June 12, 1990, proclaims the "Declaration of State Sovereignty of the RSFSR". The process of "sovereignty of Russia" leads on November 1, 1990 to the adoption of a decree on Russia's economic sovereignty.
The departure from the control of the center of the Russian power structures (in the largest cities of Russia, the leadership also passed to the democrats: in Leningrad to A. Sobchak, in Moscow to G. X. Popov) was complemented by even more radical decisions of the legislative bodies in the Baltic States and in other republics. In the period under review, a multiparty system was formed in the USSR. Most of the newly formed parties were in opposition to the regime. The CPSU itself experienced a serious crisis, the XXVIII Party Congress (July 1990) led only to the most radical members led by Yeltsin. The number of the party in the last year of perestroika decreased from 20 to 15 million people, the Communist Parties of the Baltic States declared themselves independent.
Under these conditions, the center tried to find a way out in giving the president of the USSR emergency powers.
The 4th Congress of People's Deputies of the USSR approved the constitutional changes that endowed Gorba-chev with additional powers. There was an actual resubmission to the President of the Council of Ministers, now renamed the Cabinet of Ministers. To control the strengthened head of state, the post of vice-president was introduced, for which the congress elected G. I. Yanayev. In an effort to obtain a forceful version of the Cabinet of Ministers, Gorbachev is conducting personnel changes. Instead of V. Bakati, B. Pugo becomes Minister of Internal Affairs and E. Shevardnadze as Minister of Foreign Affairs was replaced by A. Immortals