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Yeltsin Address to Nation

Moscow ITAR-TASS World Service in Russian 1416 GMT 6 Oct 93

[FBIS Transcript]
   "Esteemed citizens of Russia! 

    On 3 and 4 October Russia experienced an extremely great 
tragedy. Gangs of murderers and thugs poured onto the streets of 
our capital. They smashed up state institutions and mistreated 
people whom they took hostage.  They seized city buses and 
trucks.  Many weapons, much ammunition, and many military 
vehicles ended up in the hands of thugs.  The lives of peaceful 
city dwellers were placed in deadly peril. 

    What happened in Moscow last Sunday was not some kind of 
spontaneous demonstration.  All this has a different name -- an 
armed mutiny, planned and prepared by the leaders of the former 
Supreme Soviet, the former vice president, and the leaders of a 
number of parties and organizations. 

    Among these were the "National Salvation Front," and first 
and foremost "Trudovaya Rossiya" [Working Russia] which is a part 
of it, a number of communist parties and groups, the fascist 
"Russian National Unity," and others.  Fascists joined ranks with 
communists and the swastika with the hammer and sickle in this 
dark deed. 

    Among the organizers of and active participants in this 
mutiny were certain former people's deputies who for a long time 
had been carrying out what were in point of fact criminal 
activities.  Under cover of their immunity as deputies, they used 
them for incitement to violence, to organize mass bloody 
disturbances, and to unleash a civil war. 

    Their purpose was to establish a bloody communist-fascist 
dictatorship in Russia.  It is clear today that this had been 
prepared over the course of many months. 

    A great deal is currently being said about the slowness, the 
hesitation, the confusion of the authorities.  I have to say 
bluntly -- not everyone had sufficient self-possession, not 
everyone had the strength and nerve to withstand the gigantic 
tension at the most critical moment. 

    The bloody events of that night forced us to bring regular 
army units into Moscow.  A grave decision was made to storm the 
White House building, which had turned into a citadel of 
terrorism with a huge number of weapons and huge amount of 
ammunition, and had become the most dangerous factor in 
unleashing civil war in Russia. 

    It was precisely from the White House that the militants' 
actions were being coordinated, and it was precisely there that 
illegal armed detachments were being set up. "To the Mayor's 
office!" "To Ostankino!" "To the Kremlin!" 

    But the White House has also become a symbol of perfidy and 
treachery.  All preparations for the rebellion were conducted 
under the cover of the talks.  The noble intentions of the 
Russian Orthodox Church to help resolve the crisis were trampled 
underfoot. 

    There is something else I have to say.  There would have been 
considerably fewer victims if the militants and snipers holed up 
in the House of Soviets had not fired directly at civilians and 
if the order to surrender weapons had been given when resistance 
became pointless. 

    The flame of civil war in Russia has been extinguished.  But 
one's heart is heavy because an enormous price had to be paid to 
do this.  I am grieved that amid the ashes people have already 
started creating a commotion for the sake of petty political 
advantage, for the sake of saving the reputations of those who 
covered themselves with shame that night.  May God be their 
judge! 

    We should learn most serious lessons so that this does not 
happen again. 

    Why did we resign ourselves to the fact that organizations 
which not only incited violence but also organized it were legal 
in Russia?  They were never rebuffed either by the Procuracy, or 
by the law enforcement bodies. 

    Society had almost resigned itself to the fact that the 
Supreme Soviet and the congress became their main protectors.  As 
a result, their escapades became increasingly brazen and 
sinister. 

    Why is it that any action, even a timid action strengthening 
law and order, and any measure with elements of toughness met a 
cool attitude, to put it mildly, on the part of many journalists, 
people who consider themselves democrats? 

    Even when for the sake of Muscovites' safety we were forced 
to create a cordon around the "White House," which was crammed 
with lethal weaponry, from all sides there showered down 
accusations of cruelty and heartlessness, of a revival of 
authoritarianism. 

    The main lesson is that democracy must be reliably defended.  
The state must use force if there arises a threat of violence or 
threat to citizens' lives and safety.  Without that there is no 
democracy. 

    Everyone who took up arms and participated in the disorders 
will be punished with all the severity of the law.  All purveyors 
of fascist-communist ideas, who incited people to rebel, will 
also be made answerable in accordance with the law.  There will 
be no more leniency to communist-fascism in Russia. 

    The cause of the tragic events in Moscow lay in the fact that 
too many people here wanted to prolong the pernicious diarchy 
destroying Russia. 

    Literally immediately after the abolition of the Supreme 
Soviet and the setting of parliamentary elections, a blanket 
campaign to win over the regions was unleashed.  They started to 
create a new enemy to the executive in the form of the so-called 
Council of Component Parts of the Federation.  It is difficult to 
say which  played the greater part here -- political ineptitude 
and naivete  or cold calculation.  Indeed each step in this 
direction was a blow against the state, against unity and the 
integrity of Russia.    With each of these steps the aggression 
and effrontery of those who had chosen the path of violence and 
arbitrary rule mounted. 

    I consider that the Constitutional Court is to blame to a 
large extent for the events.  This body long ago violated the 
crucial principle that the Constitutional Court is independent 
from the political environment. 

    Long ago it turned into the prosecutor of the executive and 
the acolyte of the lawmakers. 

    Incidentally, the Courts appeared not to notice that the 
Russian Constitution was being violated by numerous amendments.  
It ignored the crying contradictions in the Constitution, 
intentionally exacerbated by the Congress. 

    There is something special to be said about the Soviets. 

    Each of them has deputies who support reforms, but regardless 
of this, the stance of most of them meant in fact, after 21 
September, that any actions of the former Supreme Soviet were 
justified per se. Moreover, it [the Supreme Soviet] was being 
provoked and pushed toward the violence, and all kinds of hints 
of support were being made.  I have no doubt that, should the 
insurgents have taken the upper hand, the majority of Soviets 
would have come out in their support. 

    I state with all responsibility that the majority of the 
bodies of soviet power bear direct responsibility for the extreme 
exacerbation of the situation in Moscow.  The system of the 
soviets has shown complete disregard for the security of the 
state and its citizens and has itself brought its own political 
destiny to an end. 

    I believe that the soviets, who took up irreconcilable 
positions, must not now adapt themselves to the new situation but 
take an honorable and courageous decision on self-dissolution and 
leave peacefully, like human beings, without further shocks and 
scandals. Life itself demands this. 

    Administrations of krays and oblasts have been given 
instructions to draw up a list of measures as soon as possible 
for social guarantees for deputies. 

    At the same time it is necessary to devise as soon as 
possible  a mechanism for transforming the soviets into normal 
bodies of representative power. 

    The Public Chamber [Obshchestvennaya Palata], the Committee 
for Legislative Proposals, and the Committee on Human Rights 
could have their say here -- everyone who has an interest in 
strengthening Russian statehood.  Of course, elections to new 
representative bodies of power in the localities have to be held 
in December, without delay. 

    Esteemed fellow citizens! 

    Having lived through the terrible days and nights, we can 
nevertheless be confident that it has not proved possible to 
unleash civil war in Russia.  The insurgents in our capital 
remained outsiders.  The people of Moscow despise and curse them. 

    They failed to split the country, to split the army, and the 
state. 

    However, the problems which the revolt laid bare are 
extremely serious. 

    We need a normal democratic Constitution as much as we need 
air. We need a united Russia.  Playing at regional isolation is 
counter to the interests and will of the majority of the 
country's population.  We need a complete reform of the army and 
the security bodies. 

    We need to continue unswervingly the economic 
transformations, supporting all of the government's efforts 
directed toward this end. 

    To restore order and stability and cleanse Moscow of fighters 
once and for all, a state of emergency has been introduced in the 
capital for one week.  Depending on the situation, this time-span 
can be reduced or slightly increased. 

    Most Muscovites and citizens of Russia realise the need for 
this harsh measure and support it. 

    At the same time, several tough measures envisaged under the 
Law on the State of Emergency are unnecessary in present 
circumstances. Instructions to lift the precautionary censorship 
of the mass media have already been issued. 

    However, I would like to give the following warning.  If 
anybody thinks that the situation has completely returned to 
normal, they are making a big mistake.  Passions have not 
subsided.  Careless and irresponsible words could inflame them 
again.  I appeal to journalists to display a sense of civic duty. 

    Quite a few heavy responsibilities lie on the shoulders of 
servicemen, law enforcement personnel, and firemen at this time. 
They are working in an extremely tight regime, risking their 
lives, and bearing all the weight of the state of emergency. 

    My heartfelt gratitude to you for removing the danger of 
pogroms and anarchy in Moscow, for stopping raging banditism, and 
averting an extremely dangerous political escapade. 

    During these days the workload of the medical staff has 
increased manyfold.  You are saving lives, helping many people, 
and taking upon yourselves part of their suffering and pain.  I 
am grateful to you, because in difficult conditions, even in the 
face of bullets, you remained faithful to the Hippocratic oath. 

    One of the main attacks of the rebels was on mass information 
media. 

    I thank all those who, at the most dramatic moments of the 
October mutiny, continued to broadcast on television and radio. I 
thank the journalists who worked in dangerous areas of Moscow. 
The blood of journalists was spilled in this tragedy. 

    I bow before the courage of the staff of the Ostankino 
television center who, at the price of their lives, upheld their 
right to freedom of information. 

    I would like to express words of gratitude to Muscovites for 
their support for the president and the government.  Over the 
past few days our city has become the "hottest spot" in Russia.  
But for your stand, but for those who came to the city center 
that night, it cannot be ruled out that the price which one would 
have had to pay to defend freedom and democracy would have been 
immeasurably higher. 

    Russia and the whole world today express respect for your 
courage, your dignity, and your choice. 

    Esteemed citizens of Russia! 

    The worst is over, but to ensure that peace and calm in our 
country are not disrupted, we all need to strengthen our state 
and strengthen democracy.  Elections to the Federal Assembly will 
be held on 12 December and, I think, to new representative bodies 
in the localities. 

    All politicians, parties, and movements which have not 
discredited themselves by direct participation in the 
insurrection, are guaranteed equal chances. 

    Over the past few days we have seen for ourselves how great 
the price of political indifference can be.  Such indifference is 
no answer, is no guarantee of personal safety.  How can anyone 
sleep peacefully when their home is set on fire? 

    I appeal to you, esteemed compatriots, to actively 
participate in the elections and to elect decent, competent, 
intelligent, and cultured people -- those who are not capable of 
betrayal. 

    Dear compatriots! 

    We have left behind the nightmare of those black days.  One 
should not say that there were certain winners or certain losers. 
Today these words are misplaced, they are blasphemous.  We have 
all been burned by the deadly breath of fratricide. 

    People, our compatriots, were killed.  One cannot bring them 
back.  Pain and suffering have entered many families. 

    However different their convictions, they were all children 
of Russia.  This is our common tragedy, our common sorrow -- the 
great sorrow. 

    Let us remember this madness, so that it will never be 
allowed to repeat itself." 

Quelle: soc.culture.soviet




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