Monday, June 12, 2023

Yeltsin’s Firing on Supreme Soviet in 1993 First Post-Soviet ‘Special Operation’ and Set the Stage for Putin System, Novoselov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 8 – Aleksey Novoselov, a Yekaterinburg journalist who studies past events with an eye to their impact on the present, argues in his latest interview that Boris Yeltsin’s use of force against the Supreme Soviet in October 1993 was the first post-Soviet “special operation” and set the stage for Putin’s entire approach to rule.

            Asked what event he thinks has played the greatest role in defining the current situation, the journalist says that he believes it was that attack on the parliament 30 years ago. In the course of studying it, Novoselov says, his own view of what happened and what it meant changed 180 degrees (

            Earlier, he says he had accepted the liberal view that Yeltsin was threatened by those who wanted to return to the old system and took appropriate action. But now, having looked into things more closely, he recognizes that is a mistake and that what the first Russian president did had a different cause and a different set of consequences.

            In more lapidary language, Novoselov syas that “earlier he was absolutely certain tha thte events of 1993 in Russia were an attempt of the deputies to seize power. But now I understand that as a result of this coup d’etat appeared a new Constitution and began the laying of the foundations for the current regime.”

            “Historians may correct me,” he continues, “but in my view, the shooting of the Supreme Soviet was the first ‘special operation’ in Russia,” the first use of force after 1991 to deal with a difficult situation with the help of military force. And the great tragedy is that that effort was “crowned with success.”

            “The very same tank driver who took part in the events of 1993 a year later were going into Grozny, and this [first Chechen] war had great influence on Russia as it simply knocked it off the European path of development,” the journalist says.

            Russia began to be criticized by the West, Yeltsin’s supporters became dominant in the parliament, and elections seized to be real. “Having lost the support of the public and the press, Yeltsin increasingly relied on a narrow circle of security officials and liberal technocrats who then performed the function of his political strategists.”

            “During the 1996 presidential election, these groups were still in conflict but by the end of Yeltsin’s second term, he had managed to enlist the more modern and in his view ‘adequate’ security officials. Since then, a symbiosis of security forces and technocrats has ruled Russia, the Yekaterinburg journalist says.

            October 1993 thus was one of the three key events defining Russia today, he continues; the other two were the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and World War II. This is not surprising: “Russia has always been a country facing the past. In it, 90 percent of all discussion is about the past” rather than about the present or future.

            Anyone who listened to Putin’s speeches before February 2022 would have felt that “everything is about the past. To a large extent, this obsession characterizes us as a country;” and examining past events as Novoselov and his team have been doing can help form an adequate view of what happened, why, and what it has meant.

No comments:

Post a Comment