In this post I am continuing with the remembrance of the events of September — October 1993 resulting in Yeltsin’s unconstitutional power grab. After Yeltsin’s coup, the newspaper “Pravda” was forbidden, which was highly symbolic, as “Pravda” means “Truth” in Russian, and so after October of 1993 and for a long time The Truth was forbidden. The previous posts in the series are: Autumn of 1991 as a Prelude to the “Black October” of 1993 and the “Wild ’90s” in Russia and The Bloody October of 1993. Retrospect. The Last Interview with Ruslan Hasbulatov.
The newspaper published a series of Telegram posts and articles, commemorating that turn to the worse in Russian history. Below, I will translate three materials from Telegram, finishing with a longer article by Doctor of Political Sciences Sergej Obuhov, who asks several highly-relevant questions about those times and how the events echo in today’s Russia.
All the images can be clicked on for higher resolution.
A barricade leaflet.
Today, after exactly 30 years, our editorial office publishes the historical Moscow edition of the newspaper “Pravda”, published on the 1st of October 1993 under the general headline “Politics is over. The dictatorship has begun”. It truly became a barricade leaflet, a “battle leaflet” that contained both a chronicle of what was happening, an analysis of the situation, and the thoughts and experiences of the participants in the events. Even now one can see in it the intensity of those events, the nerve of that time of troubles. For the edification of future generations.
In just two days there will be a bloody suppression of the popular uprising in the worst traditions of Pinochet, and “Pravda” became banned for a long time.
Here’s what the deputy editor-in-chief of Pravda, Viktor Linnik, wrote: “…It is absolutely not necessary to admire Hasbulatov and Rutskoy in order to be outraged by Yeltsin’s utterly cynical actions. Although it is precisely today that both Rutskoy, Hasbulatov, and every defender of the “White House” deserve the gratitude of the Russians for daring to throw the gauntlet in the face of tyranny.
None of us idealizes the Parliament. It is no worse and, perhaps, no better than the rest of us. But the Parliament represents something extremely important for any civilized society. It is a counterweight to the arbitrariness of the executive power. It is a guarantee of freedom of speech, however minimal. It is the guarantor of our right to disagree with the authorities. And finally, with all its shortcomings, it allows for a civilized expression of this disagreement.
And the thesis that the Parliament was elected “in the communist era” and therefore, so to say, cannot be “democratic” is simply ridiculous. After all, both Yeltsin, and Shumeyko, and Shakhray, and other now ardent anti-communists were elected in the same era.
No, the Kremlin is unsatisfied with the Parliament not because it is the stronghold of the Communists and national patriots. And only insofar as it prevents the new owners of the Kremlin from uncontrollably plundering Russia, making it a concubine of the West…”.
The scans of the edition in high resolution can be downloaded from the link.
The events of September — October 1993 marked the end of the coup d’etat, the active phase of which began in 1991. It destroyed the USSR and opened the way for the restoration of capitalism in the republics that were part of the Union state. The purpose of the last phase of the coup, which was launched by the decree of the President of the Russian Federation B.N.Yeltsin No. 1400 “On Phased Constitutional Reform in the Russian Federation”, was to dismantle the remnants of the political system of the Soviets in Russia.
I have heard more than once the exclamations: “What kind of Soviet power can we talk about in 1993?!” Such an approach is an erroneous identification of Socialism as a socio—economic system, and of the Soviets (translator note: “Soviet” means “Council” in Russian) as a political system. The latter were not invented by V.I.Lenin or anyone of the Bolsheviks. This unique phenomenon organically arose within the Russian society, which at the turn of the XIX—XX centuries was desperately looking for an alternative to the self-centred and thoroughly rotten tsarist autocracy.
The Soviets are a genuine direct people’s democracy. Young workers themselves came to this form of self—organization and self-government – yesterday’s rural guys who had experience of peasant gatherings. Lenin, with his characteristic ability to penetrate into the essence of things, understood the significance and the potential of this unique socio-political phenomenon. Together with his party, he raised it to a completely different level and turned it into the basis of the political system of the first socialist state in history.
So it was not the Bolsheviks who imposed the Soviets on the country. Lenin’s party was not always the majority in them. And at the end of the twentieth century, it became so that the CPSU was banned, there was no united socialist state, but the remnants of its political superstructure — the Soviet system — were still preserved. Although the Soviets were no longer “red”, they were the ones who found themselves in the way of the Yeltsin-led group that usurped power in Russia, and which was with all its might get to looting the public property.
The new Russian bourgeoisie was resolutely asserting its dominance, using Yeltsin with his personal inclination to despotic, unlimited power as a battering ram. At first, he secured extraordinary powers for himself, which he later refused to return to the legitimate Parliament — the Supreme Council. Then, in March 1993, the Yeltsinists launched their first coup attempt. However, then their OPUS (the Special Order of Governing of the Country) immediately met with active resistance and failed.
The hastily organized All-Russian referendum on April 25, 1993 did not bring Yeltsin success either: Russian citizens did not support the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet. Then there was an attempt to intimidate political opponents:
On the 1st of May, an unprovoked beating of a demonstration of the left opposition by law enforcement officers took place. However, just a few days later, on the anniversary of the Great Victory, so many people took to the streets under red banners that the authorities did not dare to repeat the beating, although they were preparing for it.
The Yeltsinists took a break. They were developing an action plan. They were picked the right people. Accumulating resources. And on the 21st of September 1993 Yeltsin launched a new coup attempt.
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation issued on the same day Resolution No.Z-2, signed by its Chairman V.D.Zorkin and Secretary Y.D.Rudkin, which stated that Decree of the President of the Russian Federation B.N.Yeltsin dated 21st of September 1993, No. 1400 “On Phased Constitutional Reform in the Russian Federation” and his Appeal to citizens of Russia on the 21st of September 1993 does not comply with the Constitution of the Russian Federation and serves as a basis for the removal of the President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin from office or the activation of other special mechanisms of his responsibility in accordance with Articles 121.10 and 121.6 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
That same evening, the deputies who urgently convened in the building of the Supreme Soviet decided to dismiss Yeltsin from office and to form alternative bodies of authority. A two-week stand-off begun, about the course of which Pravda will remind in its coming issues.
In the last issue of Pravda, published before its ban, from the 2nd of October 1993, there is a small note hidden in a corner in the very “basement” of the front page under the heading “Is thy 4th – Day ‘X’?” We will give it in full.
“As was reported yesterday by the People’s Deputy of Russia Igor Bratishchev at a press conference in one of the district councils of Moscow, the day before, M.Poltoranin, who was close to the court, held a secret meeting with the editors of the loyalist newspapers. During it, Boris Yeltsin’s closest adviser warned: it will be necessary to view calmly that what will happen on the 4th of October.
What else is the bankrupt regime preparing for the people?”
Igor Mihailovich’s warning, transmitted by Pravda, turned out to be prophetic. On the morning of the 4th of October the American television company CNN was broadcasting live from Moscow to the whole world. Tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers fired directly at the building of the Supreme Council…
Today it is obvious that the negotiations on the “zero option” (that is, the return to the positions before the signing of the illegal Yeltsin’s Decree No. 1400) camouflaged the preparations for the massacre. Armoured vehicles appeared in Moscow at night on the 30th of September. The group led by Yeltsin was ready for a bloodshed.
And yet a lot of things didn’t go according to plan. Just like after the bloody May Day, an increase in the number of demonstrators on the streets of Moscow became the response to the dispersal of the rally on the 2nd of October 2. On the afternoon of the 3rd of October, the People’s Assembly gathered on Oktyabrskaya Square. The Yeltsinists made a new attempt to arrange a beating of supporters of the Supreme Soviet. But the number of people who came on Sunday was truly unprecedented. It was about hundreds of thousands of people.
A popular uprising was the response to another manifestation of violence on the part of the punishers. A huge human avalanche, sweeping away the cordons of internal troops, broke through to the House of Soviets and unblocked it. The number of demonstrators clearly stunned the Yeltsinists: the cordoning police at some point simply ran away, throwing vehicles and ammunition. Now Yeltsin had to either leave or drown the uprising in blood. Provocations were already in full swing: there was shooting, there were wounded on both sides.
On the evening of the 3rd of October, a demonstration came to the building of the Ostankino television center, demanding to provide the opposition with air time. And then, following a provocation, a tragedy occurred. Inside the building of the television center, where there were no demonstrators, an explosive device went off and a soldier of the internal troops was killed. After that, heavy fire was opened on the demonstrators from handguns and machine guns mounted on armoured personnel carriers. The “Vityaz” squad clearly showed how it was possible for the special forces to turn into punishers in a matter of minutes.
At least 46 people were killed during the shooting. Among them was 19-year-old Natalia Petuhova. According to the memories of people who knew her, she was a bright and gifted person: she wrote poetry, drew, played sports and danced ballet. Possessing a keen sense of justice, she joined the ranks of the defenders of the House of Soviets. At the Ostankino television center, she received multiple bullet wounds and ended up in a police station nearby. The cause of Natasha’s death was a bullet wound to the head with a ring burn around the wound: judging by it, the girl was finished off by a point-blank shot. In addition, traces of beatings were found on her face and body.
The next morning, through the efforts of the American TV crews, the whole world watched the bloody triumph of the “democrat” Yeltsin. More than 150 people killed, and about 500 seriously injured – such were his victims, according to official data. According to unofficial data, the number of people killed can reach two thousand. The youngest of the victims was 14-year-old Konstantin Kalinin: he was riddled with bullets, there were traces of beating on his face and body.
The investigation later established that not a single person was killed from the weapons available in the building of the Supreme Council. But there were also losses among the punishers who stormed the House of Soviets. They were generally from “friendly fire”, the biggest “success” of which was the destruction of an armoured personnel carrier of the internal troops by the paratroopers from a grenade launcher. And what’s more, both among the civilians and among the military there were those, who died from sniper shots, whose origin remains unknown to this day.
When reading the next article, tt is worth keeping in mind the concept of continuity and legitimacy of power. If Putin started denouncing Yeltsin, closing down Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg (which is, incidentally, a perfect honey trap for the liberal 5th column, flocking there), he would be undermining his own legitimacy (much like what the Republicans in the USA are doing to themselves by attacking Trump). So, Putin has to tread carefully to be able to, on one hand, undo the damage done by Yeltsin, while on the other, not plunge the country into a state where it ends up without the legitimate power, leading to a new disaster. So the changes have to be done gradually and carefully, while the assessment of the events of 1993 is best left for the future politicians. There is a place and time for everything, and today it is not yet the time to reopen that wound too wide. For now, it is sufficient that, unlike what Obuhov writes, the topic is not silenced, which is witnessed by the very fact that the publication by “Pravda” are available for everyone to read.
Author: Sergey Obuhov, Doctor of Political Sciences.
The thirtieth anniversary of the September-October 1993 political crisis in the post-Soviet Russian Federation is almost not mentioned by the official media. The topic is tabooed by the authorities.
The outcome of the crisis
Thirty years ago, the country, exhausted by the Gaidar-Yeltsin “shock therapy”, was waiting for the outcome of the conflict between the president and parliament. Let me remind you of Yeltsin’s words: «August is a pre—launch. The “artillery preparation”. September is the political offensive.»
The situation for Yeltsin’s team and its overseas hosts was becoming more and more threatening.
In early September of 1993, the Constitutional Court came close to considering the petition for the unconstitutionality of the Belovezha Agreements, which abolished the USSR. The judges-speakers O.Tiunov and V.Luchin have already been appointed. It is clear that the political effect of the consideration of this case was comparable to the “CPSU case” and created a potential threat to the legitimacy of the president, who was elected as the head of a union republic within the USSR, and not of an independent state.
On the 17th of November 1993 the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian Federation was scheduled, which was to finally resolve the issue of a new Constitution. In conditions when the president lost control over the majority of the Congress and the Supreme Council, as well as on the basis of preliminary conclusions from the constitutional debate in the constituent entities of the Federation, it could be assumed that the option of a super-presidential republic, defended in the constitutional draft of Boris Yeltsin, could obviously not count on approval.
The Supreme Council had begun the deliberations on the illegality of Yeltsin’s decree on privatization and the notorious vouchers. As it became increasingly clear, the decree was fraudulently dragged through the Supreme Council and was signed into law.
The political situation was becoming threatening for Yeltsin.
At 20.00 on the 21st of September (not on the 19th, as was planned, and not on the 26th, as requested by the ministers of the force branch), the address of President Boris Yeltsin to the citizens of Russia and Decree No. 1400 “On phased Constitutional Reform in the Russian Federation” were announced. An hour later, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation adopted a resolution “On the Immediate Termination of the Powers of the President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin.”
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation at its meeting on the evening of the 21st of September adopted the resolution «On Compliance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation of the Actions and Decisions of the President of the Russian Federation B.N.Yeltsin Related to His Decree No. 1400 “On Phased Constitutional Reform in the Russian Federation” on the 21st of September 1993 and the Appeal to the Citizens of Russia on the 21st of September 1993». In the resolution of the Constitutional Court (No. Z-2), which had the highest legal force, the decree was recognized as inconsistent with the Constitution and thus, in accordance with Article 121.6, the powers of the President of the Russian Federation B.N.Yeltsin were terminated immediately.
Already on the night of the 22nd of September 1993 this resolution was announced by the Chairman of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation V.D.Zorkin at a session of the Supreme Council of the Russian Federation. As a witness of this speech, I note that it caused an upsurge among deputies. Immediately, relying on the court decision, a resolution was adopted “On the Termination of the Powers of the President of the Russian Federation Yeltsin B.N.” and “On the Execution of the Powers of the President of the Russian Federation by the Vice-President of the Russian Federation Rutskoy A.V.”.
Rutskoy was immediately sworn in as president. Everything was happening on a high emotional note. But the citizens did not really get to know about the decisions of the Congress and the fact that the country has another legitimate President instead of Yeltsin: the legitimate Parliament was disconnected from access to the television and and radio, then from telephone and electricity, and then, on top of it, Luzhkov (the Mayor of Moscow) disconnected the parliament building rom the sewer.
The Tenth Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian Federation, convened on the 23rd of September 1993, adopted on the next day a resolution “On the Political Situation in the Russian Federation in Connection with the Coup d’Etat”, in which it determined that “any elections in the conditions of an ongoing coup d’etat cannot be recognized as legitimate.” The Congress also adopted a resolution in response to the appeal of the heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation and the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, who put forward the idea of a “zero option” for both branches of government — “On Early Elections of People’s Deputies of the Russian Federation and the President of the Russian Federation”. They determined that they would be simultaneous and would take place no later than March 1994.
For his part, Yeltsin scheduled elections to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation for the 11th – 12th of December 1993, instructing the future “Federal Assembly to consider the issue of the election of the President of the Russian Federation.”
The regional Councils for the most part sided with the Congress, condemning Presidential Decree No. 1400.
From that moment on, the external, publicly visible side of the confrontation was the struggle over the formula for the early elections of the President and people’s deputies. Both the negotiations at St. Daniel’s Monastery with the mediation of Patriarch Alexy II, as well as various meetings of the heads of regional executive and representative authorities, which were gathered by V.D.Zorkin first in St. Petersburg, and then in the hall of the Constitutional Court in Moscow, were devoted to this problem.
I should note that there was a great opposition from the regional heads of Councils and some heads of administrations to Yeltsin’s team. I witnessed a statement at a meeting with Zorkin on the 30th of September by some heads of Siberian regions who spoke about their readiness to block gas and oil pipelines going to the center of Russia and to the West. But there were no real steps taken to de-escalate the conflict from the regions. The pressure of public opinion led to the fact that Boris Yeltsin was first forced to issue a decree on holding early presidential elections on the 12th June 1994, six months after the parliamentary elections. And then, according to the testimony of the Chairman of the Constitutional Court V.D.Zorkin, on the morning of the 3rd of October he agreed to discuss the option of simultaneous early elections of the President and the Deputies. This was even reported on the radio at 16 o’clock on the 3rd of October.
I remember how the Chairman of the Constitutional Court returned after a meeting with Chernomyrdin on that day. He announced with hope in his voice of a possible way out of the impasse: there is the consent from the presidential side for simultaneous early re-elections of the Parliament and the President on the 12th of December. But…
This little-known today fact about the almost-reached compromise, suggests that there was a chance for a peaceful outcome of the crisis, and a very big chance at that. But the supporters of the hard, bloody option, both inside the Yeltsin administration and among the Western curators, pushed through their special operation.
On the 3rd of October, the demonstration of supporters of the Parliament managed somehow to break through the numerous cordons on the Garden Ring. And then the demonstrators broke through to the blocked “White House”. Here, the supporters of the Soviet government were fired upon either from the City Hall (it was located in the former book-like building of the COMECON), or from buildings near the US embassy, or from the bell tower of the Church of the Nine Martyrs of Kizich in Devyatinsky Lane. In response, people from the “White House” stormed the high-rise of the former COMECON and the “Mir” Hotel. Then there were well-known tragic events at the Ostankino television center, where 10 thousand protesters gathered (according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs). Well, and after that there was no mention of the general re-election of the Deputies and the President on the 12th of December. There was the introduction by President Boris Yeltsin of a state of emergency at 18 o’clock on the 3rd of October and the shooting of the Parliament on the 4th of October. The chance for a peaceful way out of the crisis through simultaneous re-elections of the President and people’s Deputies was crossed out.
About legal “time bombs”
The struggle for the preservation of the Soviet Constitution of the RSFSR of 1978 (with all its changes and patching), the opposition to Yeltsin’s anti-state coup of 1993 is still being presented by the authorities as something reprehensible and not worthy of memory. With his greeting, President Putin launched the official celebration of Yeltsin’s unconstitutional Decree No. 1438 of 09/24/1993 “On the formation of the Central Election Commission for Elections to the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation”. And now, by his initiative, the alleged “thirtieth anniversary of the Russian electoral system” is widely celebrated today. The schools even held special lessons. Children are told about the thirtieth anniversary of the Russian electoral system, in accordance with the manuals, as if there was a legal void before that.
The younger generations will never learn from these “celebrations” that Yeltsin’s decree on the formation of the current CEC de facto eliminated the legitimate Central Election Commission headed by Vasily Ivanovich Kazakov. The very same, who as the head of the Central Election Committee, according to the Constitution, opened the First Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR and presided over the Congress from the 16th of May to the 29th of May 1990 until Yeltsin was elected Chairman of the Supreme Soviet. By the way, it was V.I.Kazakov who organized the daily ritual of greeting the Red Flag of the RSFSR, which at first even Yeltsin was afraid to cancel. It is V.I.Kazakov who conducted the memorable “YES-YES-NO-YES” referendums in April 1993, when Yeltsin failed to push through a legitimate decision to dissolve the Congress of People’s Deputies. It is clear that such an electoral system headed by such a chairman could not be entrusted by the disruptive reformers with neither the elections to the State Duma after the shooting of the parliament, nor with the referendum on the new “tank” Constitution.
By the way, there is another legal “time bomb” here. The referendum of the 12th of December 1993 on the new Constitution, which was held to consolidate Yeltsin’s victory over the parliament, was also conducted in violation of the requirements of the existing, still valid and not cancelled or suspended by anyone law “On the Referendum of the RSFSR”. This law required the approval of the issues submitted to the referendum by an absolute number of votes from the total constituency, and not just from those participating in the referendum. By the way, the text of the draft Constitution submitted to the referendum by Yeltsin’s decree of the 15th of October was published for public inspection only on the 10th of November and, in fact, did not pass even the most rudimentary legal examination and discussion by the citizens.
According to Yeltsin’s rules, and not the rules that were in force according to the law at that time, the results of the referendum were not at all considered from “those who participated”. And not even from the number of ballots found in the ballot boxes. The results were considered… only based on the number of valid ballots, and the “validity” of the ballot was determined locally according to expediency.
Let us remind that even after officially recognized falsifications and officially made adjustments to the results of this referendum-“light”, only 31% of the citizens included in the voting lists supported the new Constitution. But according to the “presidential rules”, 58.43% of votes were cast “for” the Constitution. If we count “from the ballots found in the boxes”, the result is 57.5%. And from the “issued ballots” — just 56.60%. Well, the cherry on the cake of constitutionality: even according to Yeltsin’s rules, a referendum was not conducted in 14 regions.
It was in order to “sweep under the rug” the legal traces of manipulation, that Yeltsin suspended the work of the Constitutional Court and dismissed Zorkin from the post of chairman of the Court. Yes, then the judges later showed resistance and returned Zorkin to the post of chairman of the Constitutional Court in 2003, and Putin then reassigned him. But the topic of legal tricks during the approval of the “tank Constitution” was officially “forgotten”.
The Communist Party faction has repeatedly raised acute and unanswered – from the political and legal points of view – questions, related to the events of September — October 1993. In the first Duma, it even became possible to adopt the Resolution No. 56/1-1 of the State Duma dated the 16th of February 1994 “On Approving the Composition of the Commission to Investigate the Events of 21st of September — the 4th of October 1993.” But it became invalidated due to the decree on the amnesty for participants in the events of 1991-1993.
The incomplete investigation of those events and the hasty adoption of the amnesty act did not answer many questions. There is still no clarity in understanding the role and degree of responsibility of specific persons who were responsible for organizing the violent seizure of power, for the deaths, injuries and maiming of defenders of the Russian Parliament, for the illegal arrests and political persecution of many People’s Deputies and other citizens of the Russian Federation.
In addition, the materials of the Commission of the State Duma of the Russian Federation for additional study and analysis of the events that took place in Moscow on the 21st of September — the 5th of October 5 1993 (it was established by the resolution of the State Duma of the 28th of May 28 1998, No. 2247-II DG) and the special commission of the State Duma to assess compliance with procedural rules and the factual validity of the charges brought against the President of the Russian Federation (Resolution of the State Duma of the 19th of June 1998, No. 2636-II DG), as well as those materials published in recent years, numerous eyewitness accounts of those events, documents, expert opinions and other previously unknown research materials of specialists, scientists are speaking for even more dramatic consequences of what happened in Moscow.
First of all, the public and experts continue to be agitated by various testimonies that the number of citizens killed and injured during the storming of the House of Soviets significantly exceed official data. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, 147 people were killed and about 400 wounded on the streets of the capital in those days.
The publications from the Archive of the Clinton Presidential Library, where the recording of the conversation between Yeltsin and Clinton from the 21st of September 1993, is not evaluated. Here is a quote from this conversation:
Yeltsin: Bill, the Supreme Soviet has totally gone out of control. It no longer supports the reform process. They have become communist. We cannot no longer put up with that. For that reason, today I signed a decree on elections to a new democratic assembly to take place on December 11 and 12. In that period, the Supreme Soviet and Congress actions will not have any effect. Everything will be governed by Presidential decree. All the democratic forces are supporting me.
Clinton: Are the military and security services with you?
Yeltsin: Both the military and Ministry of Internal Affairs have come out in support of me. There is no disorder for the time being. There are about 300 people gathered but they are dispersing. I think there will be no bloodshed.
Clinton: That’s good. Your speech comes at an important time here — the Senate will act this week on the $2.5 billion assistance package for Russia and the other states. Secretary Christopher is with key members
There is still no assessment of the statements of the then deputy commander of the Airborne Forces, Lieutenant General Sorokin, who claimed that before his eyes there were shots fired from the roof of the American embassy, from the nearby roofs of houses, aimed at soldiers, at paratroopers – in order, to put it mildly, to incite hatred towards the defenders of the Supreme Council. And neither was there any assessment of the statement of People’s Deputy Jonah Andronov, who held two meetings with the representatives of the US Embassy on the eve of the shooting of the House of Soviets, trying to convince them to influence Yeltsin and cancel the storming of Parliament. During the negotiations, the deputies were told that the American side considers the military resolution as a settled matter. Later, during the assault, Deputy Andronov recognizes one of the employees of the US Embassy disguised in the “Alpha” uniform among the “Alpha” group fighters. (Translator note: the former is correct, but the latter is not, as can be read in Andronov’s interview from 2003)
So far, there have not been given any legal evaluation to the conclusions of the Duma commissions and the working groups, which came with the conclusions that not a single citizen was killed from the weapons in the possession of the defenders of the House of Soviets. And there were seized 926 such guns.
The events of the morning of the 4th of October remain absolutely uninvestigated, when the “Dzerzhinsky” division, even before the shooting of the White House, managed to fight a battle with the “Taman” Division, with the “Kantemirov” division, and with the 42nd Airborne regiment. As a result, several burned-out armoured personnel carriers appeared on the streets of Moscow, and then two Heroes of Russia and a whole group of awardees materialised following secret-stamped decrees.
The conclusion that there was no storming of the Ostankino TV and radio center by the protesting supporters of the Supreme Council was not legally formalised. And this was the main trump card of Yeltsin’s propaganda and the justification for the introduction of martial law in Moscow on the 3rd of October 1993. By the way, on that day Ostankino was defended by about 900 servicemen of the Internal Troops and police officers, most of them were special forces. While the bulk of the dead were minors or pensioners, as the armoured personnel carriers drove around the television center and constantly fired at the surrounding area and the houses.
It is still not clear what happened and who provoked the bloodshed in Moscow within the triangle of the buildings of the House of Soviets — the US Embassy — the City Hall (former COMECON) already after the morning of the 3rd of October, when Yeltsin had agreed to discuss the option of simultaneous early elections of the President and the Deputies, which meant the adoption of Zorkin’s peace plan.
Without answers to these and many other questions, it is impossible to draw proper lessons from the tragic events of 1993.