Collapse of the US foretold?
profrv at nex.net.au
Sun May 9 09:10:59 PDT 1999
Russians mark failed Gorbachev coup
MOSCOW - A small group of demonstrators marked the 11th anniversary of the
failed coup that sped the demise of the Soviet Union on Monday, while a new
opinion poll suggested growing support for the actions of the hard-line
Communists who plotted to overthrow Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
In August 1991, a group of hard-liners calling themselves the State
Emergency Committee isolated Gorbachev at a Black Sea resort, announced
that he was ill, and sent armored columns into Moscow. Thousands of
protesters took to the streets, manning barricades and rallying around
Boris Yeltsin, then president of the Russian republic. The coup collapsed
after three days and the Soviet Union fell apart a few months later.
About 70 people who defended Yeltsin and the White House - the downtown
Moscow building that then housed Russia's parliament - against an assault
that never came in 1991 returned to the site Monday to reminisce. But many
of them expressed disappointment that so few people turned out to mark the
Nadezhda Sergeyeva, 55, a retired legal aide, said she rushed back from
vacation when she heard about the coup and joined the throngs of people
gathered around the White House. She called the events of August 1991 an
"historic turning point."
"It's sad that so many people, so many Muscovites, are forgetting about
this," she said. "It's hard for the new generation to understand because
they didn't live during that time."
A new opinion poll conducted by the respected All-Russia Public Opinion
Center, or VTsIOM, found growing support for the coup plotters, 11 years
after their defeat.
Of 1600 Russians surveyed in late July, 21 percent said the State Emergency
Committee was "right," up from 14 percent the year before.
At the same time, the number of Russians who said the anti-coup forces were
"right" shrunk from 24 percent to 17 percent.
Some 32 percent said they had not had been able to figure out what was
going on at the time, and 30 percent said it was hard to answer. The poll
had a margin of error of 3.8 percent.
The coup's collapse encouraged the Soviet republics to claim broader
independence, and in December 1991 Russia, Ukraine and Belarus announced
the Soviet Union defunct. Gorbachev resigned on Dec. 25.
The Soviet breakup ushered in a decade of chaos and economic upheaval, and
much of the exuberance that accompanied the coup's failure evaporated.
Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the Russian Communist Party, said the coup's
defeat and the demise of the Soviet Union have brought nothing but misery
"No freedom came after the so-called victory over members of the State
Emergency Committee," Zyuganov told the Interfax news agency. "We lost
nearly all markets, 13,000 enterprises were destroyed and entire industries
ceased to exist."
Gorbachev was not in Russia for the coup anniversary Monday. The former
Soviet president is on vacation in Greece and won't be back in Russia until
the end of the week, his spokesman told Interfax
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