25 years ago, Moscow burned...

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
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Toronto
#1
MOSCOW -- It brought Russia to the brink of civil war and resulted in the worst street violence in Moscow since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Twenty-five years ago, on October 4, 1993, months of political conflict climaxed when President Boris Yeltsin ordered the army to shell and storm the country's legislature.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country had been riven by a fundamental conflict between the leftists in parliament and the right-centrist, free-market reformers in Yeltsin’s government. The much-amended and fatally outdated 1978 Soviet Constitution offered no way out of the mounting standoff.

Yeltsin ordered the disbanding of the parliament, the Supreme Soviet, on September 21 and called for new elections. But under the leadership of Yeltsin's chief rivals, Supreme Soviet speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov and Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, rebel lawmakers barricaded themselves in Moscow's White House -- the building housing parliament -- and voted to impeach the president over what they regarded as an illegal order.

The country fell into a dangerous dual-power situation.

Yeltsin responded by isolating the building, surrounding it with police and cutting off electricity, telephones, and water.

When Khasbulatov and Rutskoi incited armed gangs of anti-Yeltsin protesters to attack the Ostankino television studio, the nerve center of Russia's broadcast media, and the Moscow mayor's office, Yeltsin declared a state of emergency and ordered a military assault on the Supreme Soviet.

RFE/RL takes a look at some of the key players in these events, which in many ways set the stage for the course Russia took over the next two decades.
More: Who Was Who? The Key Players In Russia's Dramatic October 1993 Showdown

Also: Recalling 48 Hours In Moscow During Russia's October 1993 Crisis

Also check out Wiki: 1993 Russian constitutional crisis - Wikipedia

Pics:

Initial clashes between police/security forces and anti-Yeltsin protesters, mostly Communists and nationalists


An injured firefighter, whose truck was used as a water cannon against the protesters, and, subsequently, attacked by them


A young defender of the White House, with a riot shield he took away from a cop


Heavily armed police and troops on the streets


Roads being blocked by trucks to stop more people from going to the central areas

Ah, the 90s, back when casinos were legal there lol Now, only allowed in special "Gaming Zones" in Sochi, Crimea, Kaliningrad, Ural Mountains, and somewhere near fucking North Korea :D The mob, of course, still runs illegal ones everywhere hehe

Anyway, as it were though, already there were huge crowds out there

Last pic is city hall, it is near the White House, was, for a time, captured by the rebels, and it too was hit and damaged by shelling when the fighting started.

Armed nationalists and others celebrating the capture of city hall


General Albert Makashov, one of the senior leaders of the far right militias


Injured people

The government later claimed a death toll in hundreds. But the Communist Party and lots of regular people believe thousands died those days...

Journalist Vladimir Filonov, filming the events from a room in a hotel near the White House, drops down to dodge sniper fire apparently directed at his window

To this day, there is talk of unknown snipers on rooftops of buildings in that area targeting people, at the time. Still, nobody knows who the fuck they were...

Protesters had set up barricades all over the center, along many iconic streets

even near Red Square

Eventually, these were crushed and dispersed by Yeltsin's forces.

Armed nationalists, some even packing rocket launchers, prepare to storm the Ostankino TV center, which is basically the heart of Russian media, the tallest tower in Europe, from which all the channels broadcast across the huge country

Bottom pic, elite Specnaz unit "Vympel", inside Ostankino, prepare to defend the building. It was a vicious battle, at least one Vympel man dead and numerous attackers too.

Soccer match being broadcast from Ostankino at the time, and then it cuts off and an announcer says that "We are going off the air at this time, as our building is under armed attack"
No joke...

Inside the darkened White House


VP Rutskoi (a former combat pilot and POW during the Afghan War, btw) addresses supporters from the WH balcony

His personal security team remained loyal to the bitter end...

Continued in next post
 

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
40,237
26,412
Toronto
#2
Later, tanks firing at WH from other bank of Moskva river


Army soldiers loyal to Yeltsin clearing parks and buildings

Some dumbass amateur photographers actually followed them around! Young people have no fear of death... Then again, without those reckless guys, we'd have no such photos today...

Specnaz Alfa, the most legendary unit of the KGB and modern FSB

After most of the rebels in the streets were defeated and the WH was surrounded, they were ordered by Yeltsin to storm the building. They refused, ot must be said, these were true officers, men of honor, who told the drunken bastard where to stick his order to shoot at their own people...

Instead, they went to the WH with a white flag and negotiated them to surrender


One of the holdouts emerges from the WH to give himself up


Later, Rutskoi (camo) and Hasbulatov (coat, in background) arrested and led out by Alfa


White House burns, as a Russian flag flatters atop


Old lady uses a payphone, next to a bullet riddled dead body
Dark, dark anniversary, for Muscovites...

BTW, I love how RFE, which is funded by US government, characterizes folks who rose up against Yeltsin, a lapdop of US government at the time, as "armed gangs" or whatever...

Many over there call them freedom fighters, especially these days, you know

"Nyet to Yeltsin's Faschism"

Honestly, had those folks won, back then, Russian history could be heading into a whole other direction, right now... Certainly no bloody war in Chechnya, for one thing. If Hasbulatov, himself a Chechen, would have remained in power in parliament, he'd have figured out a way to resolve that shit peacefully, obviously...

Etc.

Fucking Yeltsin... May he burn in Hell for eternity...
 
Likes: Madeline
Jun 2014
58,649
33,642
Cleveland, Ohio
#3
Later, tanks firing at WH from other bank of Moskva river


Army soldiers loyal to Yeltsin clearing parks and buildings

Some dumbass amateur photographers actually followed them around! Young people have no fear of death... Then again, without those reckless guys, we'd have no such photos today...

Specnaz Alfa, the most legendary unit of the KGB and modern FSB

After most of the rebels in the streets were defeated and the WH was surrounded, they were ordered by Yeltsin to storm the building. They refused, ot must be said, these were true officers, men of honor, who told the drunken bastard where to stick his order to shoot at their own people...

Instead, they went to the WH with a white flag and negotiated them to surrender


One of the holdouts emerges from the WH to give himself up


Later, Rutskoi (camo) and Hasbulatov (coat, in background) arrested and led out by Alfa


White House burns, as a Russian flag flatters atop


Old lady uses a payphone, next to a bullet riddled dead body
Dark, dark anniversary, for Muscovites...

BTW, I love how RFE, which is funded by US government, characterizes folks who rose up against Yeltsin, a lapdop of US government at the time, as "armed gangs" or whatever...

Many over there call them freedom fighters, especially these days, you know

"Nyet to Yeltsin's Faschism"

Honestly, had those folks won, back then, Russian history could be heading into a whole other direction, right now... Certainly no bloody war in Chechnya, for one thing. If Hasbulatov, himself a Chechen, would have remained in power in parliament, he'd have figured out a way to resolve that shit peacefully, obviously...

Etc.

Fucking Yeltsin... May he burn in Hell for eternity...
But Boris was the good Soviet leader, I was taught. Khrushchev was "not to be trusted" and so on.

This explains a lot about Putin, and certainly why Trump bromancing Putin is seen as such a hideous images by most not-insane Americans.

Why wasn't the media coverage in America for the civil war/unrest in Russia reported more in America?

How close did the protesters come to overthrowing the government? Was it ever a real possibility?
 
Likes: The Man
Jun 2014
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Cleveland, Ohio
#4
O dear Lord. Boris was president of Russia. He took office 2 years after the USSR broke up.

My only excuse for not knowing is, in 1993, I was very busy at work. Hurricane Andrew had hit Florida in 1992, and the state was having such economic instability, it threatened to bankrupt every homeowner and business. Still, I knew every detail of the OJ trial, which was approximately the same time.

I am astonished this could have happened and I never knew it, though.

Any good movies in English about this 1993 civil unrest/war you can suggest, @The Man?
 
Likes: The Man

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
40,237
26,412
Toronto
#5
O dear Lord. Boris was president of Russia. He took office 2 years after the USSR broke up.

My only excuse for not knowing is, in 1993, I was very busy at work. Hurricane Andrew had hit Florida in 1992, and the state was having such economic instability, it threatened to bankrupt every homeowner and business. Still, I knew every detail of the OJ trial, which was approximately the same time.

I am astonished this could have happened and I never knew it, though.

Any good movies in English about this 1993 civil unrest/war you can suggest, @The Man?
This one is not bad, if short
I'll see what else I can find...

I'm sure US media tried to downplay it, again, they were all supporting Yeltsin, naturally...
 
Likes: Madeline
Aug 2018
318
487
Vancouver
#6
This thread leaves one burning question unanswered.

Where was young “The Man” during all of this?


I remember this unfolding on TV news. I worked in a video store (as in - VHS tapes) in 93 and remember watching the news at work. It’s all very confusing when you don’t know the nuances.
 

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
40,237
26,412
Toronto
#7
This thread leaves one burning question unanswered.

Where was young “The Man” during all of this?


I remember this unfolding on TV news. I worked in a video store (as in - VHS tapes) in 93 and remember watching the news at work. It’s all very confusing when you don’t know the nuances.
The Man was less than 5 years old, and had just finished surviving his own war: War in Abkhazia (1992–1993) - Wikipedia

One of my uncles was there, defended the WH... Still got a bit of shrapnel embedded in his leg, from a tank shell, to prove it...
 
Likes: Madeline
Jun 2014
58,649
33,642
Cleveland, Ohio
#8
This thread leaves one burning question unanswered.

Where was young “The Man” during all of this?


I remember this unfolding on TV news. I worked in a video store (as in - VHS tapes) in 93 and remember watching the news at work. It’s all very confusing when you don’t know the nuances.
My guess would be, hanging out and looking tough over on some corner in Moscow, because The Man is great, but not everything Americans get wrong about Russia is his personal failing. We would unreasonable to blame The Man for America's struggles with propaganda.

It would be like blaming @Helena Helena that I did not know that Prague was the place where Disco music reached genius level.

I love Disco. I could have flown to Prague on any day after I turned 18, and wandered around casually asking where the genius music, art, and fashion of the day could be best seen. Yeah, that was encouraged in 1970's the former Czechoslovakia, especially by snotty, mouthy American females who are considered extremely rude IN America at the time.

Sounds like a movie script some clever 12 year old would write, tbh.

That is 100% as ridiculous for blaming The Man because he knew about human rights violations in Russia 30 years ago but did not single-handedly prevent them.
 
Likes: The Man
Nov 2007
1,396
441
Prague, Czech Republic
#9
But Boris was the good Soviet leader, I was taught. Khrushchev was "not to be trusted" and so on.

This explains a lot about Putin, and certainly why Trump bromancing Putin is seen as such a hideous images by most not-insane Americans.

Why wasn't the media coverage in America for the civil war/unrest in Russia reported more in America?

How close did the protesters come to overthrowing the government? Was it ever a real possibility?
I'm fairly sure this was big news everywhere.

nyt 1993.png
 
Likes: The Man
Aug 2018
318
487
Vancouver
#10
My guess would be, hanging out and looking tough over on some corner in Moscow, because The Man is great, but not everything Americans get wrong about Russia is his personal failing. We would unreasonable to blame The Man for America's struggles with propaganda.

It would be like blaming @Helena Helena that I did not know that Prague was the place where Disco music reached genius level.

I love Disco. I could have flown to Prague on any day after I turned 18, and wandered around casually asking where the genius music, art, and fashion of the day could be best seen. Yeah, that was encouraged in 1970's the former Czechoslovakia, especially by snotty, mouthy American females who are considered extremely rude IN America at the time.

Sounds like a movie script some clever 12 year old would write, tbh.

That is 100% as ridiculous for blaming The Man because he knew about human rights violations in Russia 30 years ago but did not single-handedly prevent them.
I wasn’t blaming the guy. I was just asking where he was in life when it was happening