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


3
Speech to the Russian Parliament, August 21, 1991

Boris Yeltsin came before the Russian parliament at 12:55 P.M. on Wednesday, August 21. By then, the plotters had been routed and were attempting to flee. Reprinted below is the complete text of Yeltsin's speech.

Distinguished people, deputies.

Russia and the country, as a whole, are living through a dramatic, perhaps tragic, period in its history.

In the history of our country there have been several attempts to stage a coup, at a time when it would have seemed that democracy was on the rise and gathering momentum. Right-wing forces have tried several times to stage a coup d'état, and they have at last succeeded.

You will recall that the first attempt took place at the beginning of the year, but at that time they were scared off by the statement made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eduard Shevardnadze, and the corresponding reaction of public opinion in Russia, the country, and the world.

You all recall the session of the USSR Supreme Soviet, when the same people--Pavlov, Kriuchkov, Yazov--tried to extract for themselves some special powers at the expense of the authority of the President of the country, which virtually amounted to his removal from office, and so forth.

But this second attempt, too, failed: the Supreme Soviet gave them no support.

And finally, the third, this time successful, attempt came when the President was vacationing away from Moscow. Now he is no longer on vacation; he is forcibly isolated at his dacha in Foros, in the Crimea.

-176-

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