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Grigory Yavlinsky's web-site, October 5, 2003

On the Lessons of the Events of October 3-4, 1993

By Griogry Yavlinsky

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 new provocations.

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 scenario.

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 criminal law-suits.

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.


See also:

The Events of October 1993

Grigory Yavlinsky's web-site, October 5, 2003

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