Wednesday, August 23, 2023

‘Russian Gestapo’ Came to Power in 1991 and It Led Directly to Putinism, Zaydman Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug.19 – Debates continue as to when the rise of a Putin figure became inevitable, Vadim Zaydman says; but it must be recognized that “on August 19, 1991, the Russian Gestapo came to power” standing behind and concealed by those who called themselves democrats but weren’t.

            What happened in August 1991 was not a democratic revolution but rather “a fight between the young wolves of the KGB who wanted to throw off the yoke of communist dogma, enrich themselves and travel freely to the West, and the old wolves who did not want to part with those stale doctrines,” the commentator says (

            “Beyond doubt, Yeltsin had a moment, albeit a brief one, when he could have broken the KGB leaders, dispersed the Russian Gestapo, and put it and the CPSU on trial,” Zaydman continues. But he didn’t do so, either because he didn’t understand the nature of the threat or because he wanted to take part in its victory. The latter is the more likely.

            And that conclusion is supported not only by his actions but by the fact that nine years later, he “transferred power to the one who has carried out the creeping August coup in full.”

            “I don’t want to belittle the role of the people who came out in August 1991 to the Russian White House,” Zaydman says. “They were courageous and sincere in their desire to see Russia a free democratic country. Paradoxically, however, the aspirations of the democratic public coincided with those of the greedy and cynical scoundrels from the KGB.”

            As a result, at the moment when it appeared that “democracy had won, the Russian Gestapo in fact came to power,” the commentator argues. This wasn’t immediately obvious and isn’t obvious to everyone even now. “But the truth no matter how unpleasant it may be does not cease to be the truth.”

            After its victory, the Russian Gestapo was cautious and even embarrassed dressed up as it was in democratic garb, “but its fascist and imperial essence erupted” very soon, with the first hybrid war against Georgia that eventually killed the first president of that independent country, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, and them the real war and genocide in Chechnya.

            Russia’s democratic public which even then “should have been put in quotation marks not only tried not to notice this but in fact approved of such actions, viewing them as those of “’a renewed democratic Russia in which there will never be a return to the bloody past,” Zaydman continues.

            After Yeltsin came a leader who “having discarded all the democratic fig leaves from the Russian Gestapo brought the victory of the young wolves in 1991 to its logical completion.” What happened next is “known to all” and represents the dashing of so many hopes  for something else.


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