| The tragic developments of October 3-4, 1993 is a black
page in Russia’s history and should never be repeated.
The responsibility for unleashing the civil war in the centre of the
Russian capital and fatalities should be borne by those who adopted the
criminal decisions and considered victory in the fight for power to be
more important than their compatriots' lives and civil peace.
The failure of the first stage of economic reforms by Yeltsin's administration
led to 2,600% inflation, abrupt pauperisation of most Russian citizens
and extremely volatile social situation. Measures that cast millions of
people into poverty were adopted off the cuff, without any attempt to
engage in a public dialogue. President Yeltsin did not speak once to in
the Supreme Council during that year to explain his actions. Instead of
dialogue he and his team conscientiously went about intensifying the conflict,
even engaging in deliberate provocative behaviour.
At a referendum initiated by the president the citizens voted against
the dismissal of the parliament or resignation of the president, thereby
calling the two branches of power to a dialogue. Instead of taking their
will into consideration, the executive authorities went on organizing
At the same time the leadership of the Congress of People's Deputies
and the Supreme Council did not attempt to find peaceful ways out of the
crisis and even use those at their disposal. Consistently increasing the
tension they seriously prepared for civil war as the most likely development
If we apply the norms of the criminal law to both sides, then President
Yeltsin should be accused of systematically abusing his proxies and exceeding
his authority over a protracted period of time. The leadership of the
Supreme Council of the RSFSR is guilty of deliberately initiating public
disturbances that led to fatalities. Both ides can be accused of driving
the situation to fratricide.
Realising their roles in the organisation of fratricide both sides soon
agreed on collusion - liquidation of he Commission responsible for investigating
the events of October 1993 in exchange for amnesties for everybody facing
The negative consequences of criminal actions by both sides seriously
affected Russia’s subsequent development.
Violence and bloodshed opened the way to a chain of political murders
that began to be widely used as the way of resolving problems. The ongoing
war in Chechnya began soon after the tragedy of October 1993.
The authorities also demonstrated to society their disregard for public
opinion, their adherence to the administrative-command, nomenclature-based
method of ruling the country. The present curbs on democratic developments
and growth of political apathy among Russian citizens can be attributed
to those events.
Today it is up to all the branches and bodies of power in Russia and
every politician to avert actions aimed at deliberately dividing society
and escalating the hostilities.
At present we are facing the urgent need to severely re-assess the irresponsible
actions of those individuals who put the country on the verge of national
catastrophe ten years ago merely to nourish their ambitions. We can only
avoid any repeat of the tragedy if we undertake such an assessment.
The Events of October 1993