The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse

By Alexander Dallin; Gail W. Lapidus | Go to book overview

48 An Open Letter to the
People, July 23, 1991

YURY BONDAREV ET AL.

Dear residents of the Russian Republic! Citizens of the USSR! Compatriots!

An enormous, unprecedented misfortune has befallen us. Our homeland and country, a great state that was given into our care by history, nature and our glorious ancestors, is perishing, breaking up, and being plunged into darkness and nonexistence. And this ruination is taking place with our silence, connivance and consent. Can it be that our hearts and souls have turned to stone, that not one of us has the vigor, courage and love for the fatherland that motivated our grandfathers and fathers, who laid down their lives for the homeland on fields of battle and in gloomy torture chambers, in great feats of labor and in struggles, who shaped a mighty power out of prayers, burdens and revelations, and for whom the homeland and the state were the most sacred things in life?

What has happened to us, brothers? Why is it that sly and pompous rulers, intelligent and clever apostates and greedy and rich moneygrubbers, mocking us, scoffing at our beliefs and taking advantage of our naivete, have seized power and are pilfering our wealth, taking homes, factories and land away from the people, carving the country up into separate parts, embroiling us with one another and pulling the wool over our eyes, excommunicating us from the past and debarring us from the future—dooming us to pitiful vegetation in slavery and subordination to our all-powerful neighbors? How did it happen that, at our deafening rallies and in our irritation and impatience, yearning for changes and desiring prosperity for the country, we admitted to power people who do not love this country, who fawn on their overseas patrons and seek advice and blessing there, overseas?

Brothers, we are waking up at a late hour and noticing the disaster at a late hour, when our home is already burning on all sides, when the fire will have to be put out not with water but with our tears and blood. Will we really permit civil strife and war, for the second time in this century? Will we again throw ourselves between cruel millstones that we ourselves did not set in motion, where the people's bones are ground up and Russia's backbone is broken?

We address you in the most responsible way possible, appealing to representatives of all occupations and classes, of all ideologies and religions and of all parties and movements for whom our differences are nothing in the face of the general calamity and distress, in the face of the general love for the homeland, which we see as a single, indivisible entity that has united fraternal peoples in a mighty state, without which we would have no existence.

-574-

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