banner
Oct 4, 2021
0 Views
0 0

Black smoke over the White House

In the photo: tanks on the Novo-Arbatsky bridge in Moscow, 1993.

In the photo: tanks on the Novo-Arbatsky bridge in Moscow, 1993. (Photo: Zotin Igor / TASS)

An increasing number of citizens assess the events of October 3-4, 1993 in Moscow as the shooting of the legally elected parliament. They believe that the use of military force in the then confrontation was unacceptable. Along with this, society almost unanimously condemns Yeltsin’s policy – privatization, the collapse of industry, the bet on the sale of raw materials.

In fact, 1993 was not just the dispersal of parliament under tank attacks, but drawing a bloody line under the Soviet past. No wonder the Yeltsin press secretary Vyacheslav Kostikov in a speech at a “democratic” rally on the night of October 4, he said that “as long as the shadow of the communist Soviets hangs over the country, there will be no normal life …”

“Normal” – in his understanding – is, presumably, the rule of the oligarchs and officials who are close to them, the distribution of the country’s wealth to the “necessary” persons. And all this is hidden behind the formal attributes of democracy.

In the photo: on the night of September 22, Muscovites gathered in front of the building of the Soviets of the Russian Federation on the Free Russia Square in response to the television address of President Boris Yeltsin to the citizens of Russia.
In the photo: on the night of September 22, Muscovites gathered in front of the building of the Soviets of the Russian Federation on the Free Russia Square in response to the television address of President Boris Yeltsin to the citizens of Russia. (Photo: Anatoly Morkovkin, Gennady Khamelyanin / TASS photo chronicle)

Let us briefly recall the chronology of those events. September 21, 1993 President Boris Yeltsin signed decree No. 1400, which provided for the dissolution of the Supreme Council (SC), which, according to him, made “increasingly vigorous efforts to usurp not only the executive, but even the judicial functions.” An hour after the decree was announced, the speaker of the Russian parliament Ruslan Khasbulatov called it a coup d’état. A similar assessment was given a little later by the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, stressing the unconstitutionality of the document.

In the photo: Alexander Rutskoi takes the oath of office of the President of the Russian Federation at an urgent meeting of the Supreme Soviet of Russia, which followed the television address of President Boris Yeltsin to the nation.  The President announced the dissolution of the Russian parliament.  The parliamentarians decided to transfer presidential powers to Vice President Alexander Rutskoy.
In the photo: Alexander Rutskoi takes the oath of office of the President of the Russian Federation at an urgent meeting of the Supreme Soviet of Russia, which followed the television address of President Boris Yeltsin to the nation. The President announced the dissolution of the Russian parliament. The parliamentarians decided to transfer presidential powers to Vice President Alexander Rutskoy. (Photo: Valentin Kuzmin / TASS)

23 September the X (extraordinary) Congress of People’s Deputies opened, which voted to terminate Yeltsin’s powers as president and endowed the vice-president with the duties of the head of state Alexander Rutskoi… Armed forces were formed from volunteers. Electricity, water and telephone lines were cut off in the parliament building.

September 27 the rear armed forces were surrounded by a cordon of militiamen and servicemen of the internal troops. Transport, people, as well as food and medicine were not allowed to reach those inside the cordon.

1 october mediated by the patriarch Alexia II negotiations began between the opposing sides, water and electricity were turned on in the building of the Armed Forces.

3 october stormy events began when a crowd of protesters broke through the cordon, followed by clashes between supporters of the Armed Forces and security officials. On the same day, Yeltsin introduced a state of emergency in Moscow, troops were sent to the capital.

In the photo: Russian President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin speaking on television.
In the photo: Russian President Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin speaking on television. (Photo: Boris Kavashkin / TASS)

In the morning The 4th of October the storming of the White House took place, a fire started in the building. In the evening, the defenders of the Armed Forces announced the end of resistance. Rutskoi and Khasbulatov were arrested. They were released after an amnesty adopted by the State Duma in February 1994.

In the photo: during the assault on the White House on October 4, 1993.
In the photo: during the assault on the White House on October 4, 1993. (Photo: Alexander Chumichev and Alexander Sentsov / TASS)
In the photo: tanks near the White House.
In the photo: tanks near the White House. (Photo: Zotin Igor / TASS)

By and large, those events were the last chance for our country to carry out a kind of “reset” of the Soviet system, to preserve the good that was in the USSR in terms of economy, social life and other areas, – assesses what happened 28 years ago political scientist Alexander Asafov… – Of course, it would take an audit, something to overestimate, but such a painful gap would not have happened. But the shooting of the White House dashed these hopes and expectations. After them, Yeltsin was already consolidated in power, and instead of reforms, we got a destructive stage in our history.

In the photo: at the White House on October 4, 1993.
In the photo: at the White House on October 4, 1993. (Photo: Sergey Mamontov / TASS)

The brainchild of the “bloody October” of 1993 was the Yeltsin Constitution, adopted in December of the same year. However, I will note that it is difficult for me, as a person involved in those events, to be objective here.

Photo: medical assistance to victims of the riots at the White House.
Photo: medical assistance to victims of the riots at the White House. (Photo: Sergey Mamontov / TASS)

“SP”: – Although there were almost no deep historical studies of those events, society is more and more clearly expressing its position – more and more citizens believe that the righteousness was on the side of the Supreme Council …

Photo: dispersal of a demonstration at the White House in Moscow.
Photo: dispersal of a demonstration at the White House in Moscow. (Photo: Sergey Mamontov / TASS photo chronicle)

– I think that the next generations of researchers will give some kind of an objective assessment. At that time, I had a lot of friends and people very close to me who actively participated in those events. Let’s say. Journalist of the newspaper “Zavtra” Vladislav Shurygin was wounded then, a wonderful artist Alexey Belyaev-Gintovt was also under bullets among the defenders of the House of Soviets. For us and those who came into contact with that drama, this is, of course, a tragic page in Russian history, when blood was shed in the center of Moscow, people died …

In the photo: the exit of a group of besieged from the White House.
In the photo: the exit of a group of besieged from the White House. (Photo: Anatoly Morkovkin / TASS)
In the photo: supporters of R. Khasbulatov and A. Rutskoy during the surrender to government troops.
In the photo: supporters of R. Khasbulatov and A. Rutskoy during the surrender to government troops. (Photo: Oleg Vlasov / TASS)

Participant of those events former People’s Deputy of the USSR and the State Duma Viktor Alksnis recalls that later there were attempts to investigate those events and establish at least approximately the real number of victims.

– The main tragedy was that many of those killed directly during the shelling of the White House were from other cities. This greatly complicated the situation – say, a man left his home in Ryazan, Vladivostok or another city and disappeared. And it is extremely difficult for relatives to find out what happened to him, where his traces are lost. At one time, the State Duma commission headed by Tatyana Astrakhankina dealt with this issue, but they were not allowed to access the materials collected by the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, employees of the Prosecutor General’s Office were not allowed into the building of the Supreme Council for several days in order to assess the situation, to deal with the victims. They were told that, they say, demining should be carried out – allegedly the defenders of the House of Soviets left mines.

In fact, as it became known later, corpses were secretly removed from the building. As a result, only those who died in street battles were counted near Ostankino and the mayor’s office – according to the State Duma commission, this is 158 people. However, the presidents of Ingushetia and Kalmykia Ruslan Aushev and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who then acted as mediators, upon leaving the building gave immediate interviews to journalists and said that “the corridors are littered with corpses.” It is not known where these corpses went later … They do not appear in the data of the State Duma commission.

In the photo: during the funeral meeting in Ostankino.
In the photo: during the funeral meeting in Ostankino. (Photo: Nikolay Malyshev / TASS)

“SP”: – That is, we will not know the truth?

– It may well be so. But there is still hope. The fact is that the Prosecutor General’s Office then conducted a thorough and, surprisingly, objective investigation, during which it restored a detailed picture of what was happening. However, in the 2000s, allegedly by order of the president Putin, the materials of the investigation were destroyed – allegedly because they became “irrelevant”. However, one of the former high-ranking officials of the department once told me in a private conversation that all the materials were digitized and are in a safe place, waiting in the wings.

“SP”: – Could the history of our country take a different path, if in the fall of 1993 the confrontation ended differently?

– Of course. The fact is that at that time the Supreme Soviet of Russia prepared a detailed plan for privatization, economic reforms, all the necessary drafts of legislative acts. Then each citizen would be the owner of his share in the national wealth, and inalienable. However, Yeltsin and his team preferred the privatization of the Chubais – which, by and large, was not formalized according to the law. For this reason, its results, from the point of view of the law, can be revised if desired.

Article Categories:
Politics
banner

Leave a Reply