The “Wild ’90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory

I previously published a translation of an article For Russia 90’s Were Worse Than WWII, which tells the extent of the destruction caused to Russian industry and science in the course of the 90’s.

That was the time, when the West’s darling Yeltsin was in power, and when every parliamentary, every minister had an American “advisor” attached to him or her.

Let us remember that in October-November 1993, the Russian Parliament tried to pass an impeachment of Yeltsin, trying to save the country in a democratic way. The response back then, authorised by Clinton, was to bring tanks into the streets of Moscow, open fire at the Parliament building and kill almost 2000 people, who came to defend the young democracy from APC machine guns. That was effectively a coup d’etat, which kept Yeltsin in power and descended Russia into a dark stretch of destruction of the country and its people, which lasted until 2000, when Yeltsin released his American-backed grip, and Putin started slowly, but surely, save the county.

In this post I want to translate an echo from that time. There is a Russian site, which publishes jokes, real life stories (both fun and sad) and aphorisms, and people get to vote on them. One story collected a large number of votes, for it resonates strongly with the Russian population which survived through the war-like conditions of the 1993-1999.

The original can be found here.

Peek under the New Year Tree or Grandfather Frost exists!

Our family has a tradition – on New Year’s table there must necessarily be a duck with apples, even if nothing else is there, the duck must be present, period! This tradition began in 1991, and we keep it still!

In ’94 (I was 10 years old) there came monetary black stretch – mom could barely find work, there was either no money at all or very little of it; there was no permanent employment, and odd jobs, such as compilation of the financial statements were not regular, and paid very little. I remember as a nightmare our diet – only soup bouillon cube and green onions grown on a windowsill, with a piece of home-made bread – more than 20 years passed, but I still cannot eat bread, baked by that recipe. But this is just a background to the story!

The evening of Friday, December 30, 1994, my mother had only 20 rouble in in her pocket, it is clear that this year there will be not duck, but there will be mashed potatoes and herring. On her way home she goes to the farmer market to buy something for the festive table, and some mandarins). Almost all traders had already closed, and there was only one grandma standing and selling a single duckling, not duck, but a duckling, weighing below a kilogram! Price – 20 roubles! As they say – take it without bargaining! And the wonders did not stop there – walking through the market with this wonderful duck, there in the snow, mother finds a hundred-rouble note!!! There were tears of happiness, and tree, and mandarins, and duck with apples, candy and even a small gift!

Over the years there were different New Year ducks – “in oranges” and “with nuts” and “with figs”, and “in the dough” and weighing 6 kg, etc., etc. But we always remember “that duck”!

An basically this is it, this story, and especially the background to it, is but a sample of what 99% of the Russian population were suffering through during the Wild ’90s.

More on the Yeltsin’s coup d’etat of 1993

It happened between the 21st of September and the 5th of October 1993. Back then, the Western MSM praised this event as the ultimate defence of the young Russian democracy, while in reality, it was the exact opposite.

At that time Russian Parliament, seeing where Yeltsin was steering the country, was preparing to pass impeachment of the President. It is a completely democratic process, designed to balance the presidential power and to trigger a preliminary election. Yeltsin’s reaction was all but democratic.

He passed directive #1400, disbanding the Parliament. When the Parliament refused to comply, he (with the backing of the “well-wishers” from across the pond) ordered army into the streets of Moscow. The Parliament building and the TV tower Ostankino were surrounded. People went out to the streets to defend the Parliament. Then there came the terrible order to open fire. People were shot down by concentrated machine gun fire from armoured vehicles, the Parliament was shelled from tanks.

Here is a footage of the shelling of the Parliament:

The exact number of victims of the 1993 massacre is unknown – most documents from that time were destroyed – but is officially estimated to be approximately 200. According to the analysis in the following article (in Russian), the numbers may have been a magnitude higher.

The massacre also marked the descent of Russia into a period of near-destruction, a period of lawlessness and dismemberment of the industry and defence. A period, known in Russia as “The Wild 90s”.

Russia became totally incapacitated, which, in turn allowed USNATO in 1999 to start an unpunished invasion of Yugoslavia, not fearing any opposition. And even then, some politicians in Russia tried to show protest. When USA started the bombings, Russian Foreign Minister Prjamakov was en route to USA on a diplomatic mission. Upon hearing of the news, he ordered that the plane be turned back right over the Atlantic Ocean in protest.

A link to the excerpt from the book “The Forgotten Victims of 1993”:

It contains many witness descriptions of the executions of the defenders (even those, who were unarmed, already wounded or surrendered), and later falsification of the numbers of the murdered people.

From the site above, there is an interesting document by parliamentary Andronov, who from the besieged Parliament, on the day before the massacre conducted negotiation with representatives of the AMERICAN embassy, trying to prevent the bloodshed. Americans anyway gave the order to open fire, he says, adding that the bloodshed in Moscow in 1993 was directly authorised by Clinton.