Sunday, October 8, 2023

Yeltsin’s Use of Force against Parliament in October 1993 Set Stage for Rise of Putin, Gromov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 4 – With each passing year, it becomes more obvious that the events of the end of September and beginning of October 1993 when Boris Yeltsin used force against the Russian parliament and essentially solidified presidentialist rule in Russia were “one of the key turning points in present-day Russia,” Andrey Gromov says.

            Indeed, the Russian journalist suggests, they more than anything else set the stage for the rise of Vladimir Putin, an outcome that few of those in Russia or in Western governments who backed Yeltsin at the time really wanted or understood would be the result (

            Thirty years on, Gromov continues, it is clear that what happened then was “the main tragedy of post-Soviet Russia” and that it is completely accurate to describe what happened then as “the birthday of the Putin regime,” an ironic consequence because the defenders of the Russian White House mostly consisted of people who back what Putin stands for.

            Those who attacked the White House said they were doing so to strengthen Russian democracy but in fact they undermined it in critical ways by showing their lack of respect for the institutions of democracy which require that all parts of the government work together rather than one dictating the outcomes for all.

            Gromov says that he still believes that the Russian Supreme Soviet was conducting a destructive and irresponsible policy and that Yeltsin and his team were defending necessary reforms. “But for the future of Russia, it wasn’t this that turned out to be important.” Rather it was the concentration of power in the hands of the president.

            “But even this was not the most important thing,” the journalist continues. “Up to October 3, there were numerous attempts to find a compromise” with representatives of both sides meeting together. But then Yeltsin decided to end them by the use of tanks, precisely what has become “the model of the Putin regime.”


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