“The Yanks Gave the Order: Fire!” – Witness Testimony of Iona Andronov, a Defender of the “White house”

In my article from November 2015 The ”Wild ’90s” in Russia, as reflected in people’s memory I mentioned in passing a testimony from Deputy Iona Andronov, describing the American involvement in Yeltsin’s coup of 1993. In yesterday’s publication Newspaper “Pravda” commemorating the 30th anniversary of the “Black October” of 1993, the author of the final article made a reference to the same testimony by Andronov.

In fact, this testimony has such significance, that I think it must be translated in full as a separate article. The original document can be found here on the subdomain of the Narod.ru site, dedicated to the events of October of 1993.

Iona Andronov – a historian-orientalist, journalist, writer, the Deputy of the Supreme Soviet in 1993 – also has a homepage on Narod.ru and a blog on Cont. I want to draw attention to a large 110-page long exposing publication in Russian that he has posted on his homepage in memory of the 30th anniversary of Yeltsin’s coup: The Counter-revolution of 1993. Epilog. 30 Years Later. (A chapter from the “Parting Memoirs of a Soviet Journalist”) – also available as a PDF, which expands on the testimony you are about to read, and also adds the descriptions of the actions of the Westward-looking “liberals” and “dissidents” of that time.

The Yanks Gave the Order: Fire!

The 3rd of October 2003
– A version for the press

The plan to storm the Supreme Soviet was developed by Boris Yeltsin’s entourage under the directions of the CIA and the inner circle of US President Clinton. This was told to the correspondent of “EG” by Iona ANDRONOV, a former defender of the “White House”, a deputy of the dispersed Supreme Council, at that time, chairman of the Committee on International Affairs. He is the one who negotiated with the representatives of the American embassy on the night before the carnage, trying to prevent the massacre of the Parliament.

On the 22nd of September, the second day after Yeltsin’s decree on the dissolution of the Supreme Soviet, Iona Andronov was in his office in the parliament building. It was then that an unexpected guest came to him. He came accompanied by two employees of the US Embassy in Moscow and introduced himself as Mark Zlotnik.

– The American shoved a business card under my nose, – says Iona Ionovich. – On the card it was written that he is an employee of the National Intelligence Council of the United States. The visitor asked questions head-on: what is the number of guards of the “White House”, what are Hasbulatov’s fighters armed with, for how long will they be able to repel the assault. I was shocked by such impudence and, of course, did not answer any of the questions. However, I think in those days no one knew the exact figures that interested the American spy.

“Putana, putana, putana…”

On the afternoon of the 3rd of October, several thousand supporters of the parliament moved from Kaluga Square along Sadovoye Koltso Avenue (The Garden Ring) to the White House. They managed to crush the police barriers and break the blockade of the parliament building.

– People rejoiced, – Andronov recalls. – And that’s when Rutskoy stomped out onto the balcony of the second floor. He was almost hysterical and called for the seizure of the City Hall and Ostankino. What was he thinking? The despicable scoundrel! He set everyone up and failed the very idea. His antics were unexpected, because such a plan of action was not discussed with either the deputies or with Hasbulatov. And who did you take as an assistant? Makashov! After the spilled blood in the TV center, it became clear: only a few hours remained before the denouement.

At that time, there should have been more than a thousand people in the parliament building: after all, the list of the assembled extraordinary 11th Congress of People’s Deputies contained 1100 people. But in fact, a little more than 700 came from the regions.

– It’s a legend that the Deputies of the Supreme Council held the defence in the besieged building, – says Andronov. – Most of them quickly defected to Yeltsin’s side. They were outbid to the song “Putana, Putana, putana…”, in pauses between its playing, the proposals were shouted out over the loudspeakers to go over to the president’s side. Defectors were offered money, apartments, positions. As a result, at the time of the assault, only about a hundred deputies remained in the “White House”. The rest were volunteers, people from the street. And also the staff of the apparatus of the Supreme Council – stenographers, cleaners, canteen workers. More than 900 people in total. I did not want for Russians to kill Russians, shedding the blood of innocent people, and therefore I suggested to Hasbulatov and Rutskoy to try to persuade the US ambassador to promote a truce between the Parliament and the Kremlin.

Translator note: “Putana, Putana, putana…” was a popular song that was, for some reason, yet highly symbolically, chosen to be blasted from the “propaganda trucks” by Yetsin’s team:

– Is it true that you recognized a disguised employee of the American embassy in one of the “Alpha” group fighters?

– No, that’s a lie. The Americans did not shoot themselves, – Andronov believes. – But the tragic outcome was planned with their participation and with Clinton’s blessing.

At about 23 hours on the 3rd of October, for the first time since the beginning of the confrontation, there were no dense police cordons around the “White House”. Andronov, according to him, walked unobstructed to the American embassy. And he asked for a meeting with the Ambassador’s adviser, Luis Sel, whom he had contacted by phone a few days earlier for humanitarian assistance. Back then, Louis Sel introduced himself as the second person in the embassy.

– The second person in the embassy, as a rule, is an employee of the special services, – says Andronov. – I had no doubt that Sel was one of them: he personally called Washington in front of me and made decisions without consulting the ambassador.

But Louis Sel replied to the deputy that he could only inform Yeltsin’s entourage about Andronov’s request. Two hours later, Sel announced that the Acting Foreign Minister, Vitaly Churkin, would speak with Andronov. And after another 20 minutes, Andronov heard that negotiations were out of the question. The President demanded that they lay down their arms and leave the building of the Supreme Council. It was 2a.m. on October the 4th.

Secret operation of the CIA and the US Congress

– Later I found out that my attempts were in vain, by that time everything was a foregone conclusion, and the plan to storm the Supreme Council was discussed with the participation of the Americans, – Andronov assures. – I later received documentary evidence. My friends from the USA – and I worked in this country for 10 years as an international journalist – sent me a photocopy of the transcript of the speech of Strobe Talbot, Ambassador-at-Large, Assistant Secretary of State, held on the 6th of October at a closed meeting of the International Affairs Committee of the US Congress. It follows from this document that two weeks before the coup, Yeltsin had sent Foreign Minister Kozyrev to Washington with instructions to inform the US government about the dispersal of the Russian Parliament. And during the whole day of the 3rd of October and the next morning on the 4th of October, Talbot conducted negotiations from Washington with Yeltsin’s associates. It was about the firing of tanks and machine guns at the “White House” and the murder of its defenders. And another detail: Stephen Cohen, an American expert on Russia, three months after the shooting of the Supreme Soviet, said that in September of 1993, the US Government knew in advance what would happen in Moscow. He said literally the following: “Yeltsin led an extremist policy, and America supported him and even perhaps pushed him to it.” On the fifth day of the coup, Kozyrev again flew to the United States for approval of the blockade of the White House. He was received by President Clinton and Secretary of State Christopher. While the New York Times shamelessly reported: “The American Embassy in Moscow served as a liaison with the Russian government, and Ambassador Thomas Pickering personally contacted the forces subordinate to Yeltsin.”

The corpses were hidden in the Moscow region

According to official data, 150 people died as a result of the October events. Andronov claims that he saw mountains of corpses in the “White House” with his own eyes.

– The investigators were allowed into the building only on the fifth day, – emphasizes Iona Ionovich. – This explains why they did not see the dead in the hundreds. But there are people who have tried to establish the truth. One of them is human rights activist Yevgeny Yurchenko, a Moscow math teacher. Yurchenko and his assistants visited all the morgues, crematoriums and cemeteries of Moscow and the Moscow region in the autumn of ’93. He assures that the staff of the Arhangelsk Crematorium confirmed that after the shooting of the Parliament, vans loaded with corpses in plastic bags arrived there for three nights in a row. According to their calculations, there were about 400 dead. Another hundred were burned in the crematorium of the Hovansky cemetery.

On the 29th of March 2000, Andronov attended a meeting of the Department of the History of Medicine of the Moscow Medical Academy named after Sechenov. Professor Korostelev presided over it. A report on the activities of the state medical services during the events of September – October 1993 in Moscow was presented by Dr. Alexander Dalnov, an employee of the rescue centre of the Academy.

– Starting from the 5th of October 1993, Dalnov and his colleagues toured hospitals and morgues of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of State Security, – Andronov recalls. – As they managed to find out, the corpses of the victims of the bloody autumn events that were located there, were not included in the official reports. He assured that the number of victims in the official reports of the Moscow Department of Health was indicated only according to the information from the Moscow city morgues. And that constituted only a third of the true death toll. The authorities did not mention that many victims of the assault were taken to hospitals and cemeteries of Vidnoye and Mytishchi (Moscow region).


A Specialist’s Comment

Anatoly LAKTIONOV, Professor at the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences:

– It is impossible to say conclusively what happened in those days in the mass consciousness: there was no sociological research. The television broadcast of the shooting at those who were in the “White House” affected people the way a public execution affects. Therefore, most preferred to turn off the TV and protect themselves from what was happening. But unknowingly, many Russians in those days lost respect for the Motherland.

This concludes the translation of the material.

As an afterword: The evaluation of the mental state of the society given by Laktionov is absolutely correct – after the coup, Russia plunged into a state of hopelessness, darkness, a near-lethargic long 7 years until 2000, when Yeltsin stepped down. At the same time Russia was taken under a complete American control, becoming the colony of the USA, with the American “advisors” appointed on every level of the governance.

One can say that the USA fear most that what they themselves have done to others, and all the unfounded accusations of the “meddling in the American democracy” stem from this fear and their past sins. The article above is one such example of the American meddling in and upturning of the young Russian democracy in 1993. In 1996 Boris Yeltsin would become “re-elected” (“re-selected” is a better term) despite immense unpopularity. How it was done can be seen in the American comedy “Spinning Boris”, which was finding amusement in the tragedy of a whole country…