MOSCOW — Here is Vice President Gennady I. Yanayev's statement announcing to world leaders that he had taken over the Soviet presidency from Mikhail S. Gorbachev:
At the instruction of the Soviet leadership, I hereby notify that a state of emergency is introduced in individual localities of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for a period of six months from Aug. 19, 1991, in keeping with the constitution and laws of the U.S.S.R.
All power in the country is transferred for this period to the State Committee for the State of Emergency in the U.S.S.R.
The measures that are being adopted are temporary. They in no way mean renunciation of the course towards profound reforms in all spheres of life of the state and society.
These are forced measures, dictated by the vital need to save the economy from ruin and the country from hunger, to prevent the escalation of the threat of a large-scale civil conflict with unpredictable consequences for the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and the entire international community.
The most important objective of the state of emergency is to secure conditions that would guarantee each citizen personal safety and the safety of his or her property.
It is envisaged to liquidate anti-constitutional, ungovernable and essentially criminal military formations spreading moral and physical terror in several regions of the U.S.S.R. and serving as a catalyst for disintegration processes.
The entire range of measures adopted is directed at the earliest stabilization of the situation in the U.S.S.R., the normalization of socioeconomic life, the implementation of necessary transformations and the creation of conditions for the country's all-round development.
Any other way would lead to enhanced confrontation and violence, to the innumerable sufferings of our peoples and the creation of a dangerous focus of tension from the viewpoint of international security.
The temporary emergency measures in no mean affect international commitments assumed by the Soviet Union under existing treaties and agreements.
The U.S.S.R. is prepared to develop further its relations with all states on the basis of universally recognized principles of good neighborliness, equality, mutual benefit and non-interference in internal affairs of each other.
We are convinced that our current difficulties are transitory in character and the Soviet Union's contribution to preserving peace and consolidating international security will remain substantial.
The leadership of the U.S.S.R. hopes that the temporary emergency measures will find proper understanding on the part of the peoples and governments and the United Nations organization.