Boris Eltsin, The Hour of Grave Danger. August 20, 1991
Original Source: RIA Novosti
At this tense moment I turn to you my fellow countrymen. A handful of political adventurists have proclaimed themselves the supreme authority. They have created an anti -constitutional conspiracy and have thereby committed the gravest crime against the state. The democratic changes our people struggled for over the past five years have been trampled underfoot. In just one night freedom of speech, street processions and demonstrations and the legitimate right of citizens to express their views and uphold their stance have been eliminated. All means of communication have been concentrated in the hands of the putschists. The legally elected representatives of the peoples of Russia have been given no chance to address the electorate.
Using the traditional demagoguery, which has been tried and tested over the years, the putschists blame all our current difficulties on the democrats and promise economic recovery and a better life, security and prosperity for the citizens of the USSR. What a hypocritical lie!
Surely Pavlov is responsible for rocketing inflation and unprecedented price rises this year?
Surely Yazov as leader of the most corrupt highest placed generals, is responsible for the poverty and lawlessness of our servicemen?
Surely Pugo bears personal responsibility for the blood shed in the Baltic republics?
Surely Starodubtsev, leader of the organization of Soviet land-owners is to blame, owing to the stance he assumed, for the abortive collection of last year’s bumper crops?
And these are the people who promise to “restore order in the country!”
Their criminal deeds have left the country on the brink of terror and transformed them into petty criminals. The “order” which these latter-day 1. saviors” promise us would be the rule of an iron-fist suppression of dissidents, concentration camps and arrests made in the dark of the night.
All this can arouse only one feeling in all normal people–contempt. What can be more absurd than an illegally formed committee demanding the
Source: A. S. Durgo, ed., Russia Changes: the Events of 1991 and the Russian Constitution (Commack, N.Y.: Nova Science, 1992), pp. 7-9.