Russia at the Barricades: Eyewitness Accounts of the August 1991 Coup

By Victoria E. Bonnell; Ann Cooper et al. | Go to book overview

BORIS YELTSIN


2Proclamations, Decrees, and Appeals in Response to the Coup, August 19, 1991

Boris Yeltsin, the first freely elected President of the Russian Republic, issued the following "Appeal to the Citizens of Russia," on the morning of the first day of the coup. Yeltsin's proclamation was the first public response of any kind to the announcement of the State Committee on the State of Emergency. It was soon reproduced on photocopy machines and posted in metro stations and elsewhere throughout the city. Later that day, Yeltsin issued several decrees and appeals, some of which are reprinted below. Of special importance was his appeal to officers and soldiers to forsake the plotters and submit to the authority of the Russian government.


Document 1. Appeal to the Citizens of Russia

(issued at 9:00 A.M. on August 19, 1991)

Citizens of Russia:

On the night of August 18-19, 1991, the legally elected President of the country was removed from power.

Regardless of the reasons given for his removal, we are dealing with a rightist, reactionary, anticonstitutional coup. Despite all the difficulties and severe trials being experienced by the people, the democratic process in the country is acquiring an increasingly broad sweep and an irreversible character.

The peoples of Russia are becoming masters of their destiny. The uncontrolled powers of unconstitutional organs have been limited considerably, and this includes party organs.

-170-

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