The Soviet System: From Crisis to Collapse

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

50 A Coup Chronology

EDITORS OF CURRENT DIGEST
OF THE SOVIET PRESS

The following chronology has been compiled from three primary sources—the article "Putsch in the USSR, Aug. 19, 20, 21," published in Komsomolskaya pravda on Aug. 22 ... ; "Chronicle of the Coup and Resistance," published in Nezavisimaya gazeta on Aug. 22 ... ; and "Chronicle of the Coup and Resistance: How a Besieged Moscow Held Out," carried in Rossiiskaya gazeta on Aug. 23, ... —with additional items drawn from the special issue of Kuranty published Aug. 22 ... and from p. 4 of the special Obshchaya gazeta [Joint Newspaper] compilation published Aug. 22. ... The source of each chronology entry or set of entries is indicated at the end, with the bracketed designations [Kp], [Ng], [Rg], [K] and [Og]. ...


AUGUST 19

04:00. The Sevastopol Regiment of USSR KGB troops blockades M. S. Gorbachev's dacha at Foros in the Crimea. Two tractors block the landing strip in Belbek, where the President's aircraft—a TU-134 plane and an Mi-8 helicopter— are located. This is done on orders from Col. Gen. Maltsev, chief of staff of the country's air defense forces and one of the plotters.

...

06:00. USSR Minister of Defense D. Yazov calls a meeting of troop commanders of the various military districts. His instructions boil down to ensuring order and, if the situation warrants it, reinforcing the security of military installations.

"As for the rest," the minister says, "you'll learn of that from radio and television reports."

07:40. KGB personnel enter the editorial offices of the Echo of Moscow radio station, throw the main switches and seal the premises.

08:00. Central TV and radio announcers read the SCSE's [State Committee for the State of Emergency] documents and A. Lukyanov's "Statement by the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet." The impression is created that the coup is sanctioned by Lukyanov. The "Statement by the Soviet Leadership," signed by G. Yanayev, V. Pavlov and O. Baklanov, begins with a barefaced lie: "In connection with the inability of Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev to perform the duties of President of the USSR due to the state of his health."

09:00. B. N. Yeltsin, I. S. Silayev and R. I. Khasbulatov sign an appeal "To the Citizens of Russia." In the Moscow City Soviet, a staff is formed to deal with the emergency situation.

-582-

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