A former Soviet Union official expressed his opinion about the coup of August 1991
PRAVDA.Ru correspondent Ilya Tarasov interviewed Oleg Shenin, a former member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Currently, Oleg Shenin is one of the leaders of the Council of the Union of Communist parties. This interview is timed to cooincide with the anniversary of the coup d'etat that took place in the Soviet Union on August 19-21 of 1991.
What was your role in the events of August of 1991? Is it true that the members of the State Committee for Emergencies designated you to fulfill Mikhail Gorbachev’s position?
I thought so before, and I think so now: the institution of the State Committee for Emergencies was the only chance to save the achievements of socialism. It was the only way to fulfil the holy will of the people that voted for the preservation of the Soviet Union on March 17 1991. I was actually not a member of the State Committee for Emergencies. However, of course, I was aware of everything that was going on. I will not estimate my own role. Like I said, the institution of the committee was an absolutely correct thing to do. In regard to the other part of your question, I do not know the answer. It was all about the salvation of the country back in those days, not about our official positions.
People are still thinking about the following question: was the collapse of the Soviet Union appropriate or not? What was Mr.Gorbachev’s role in this respect?
My position is clear. It has never been changed. That’s why I will not give a long answer to this question. In short, I will cite George Bush and his aide Crawford, who wrote in their memoirs: “If Gorbachev’s authority and political determination were like those of Stalin, we would have the Soviet Union now. It would be a renewed and strong Soviet Union.”
Was it possible for the State Committee for Emergencies to win? What were its mistakes?
If you don’t believe in your own victory, then what’s the point of doing anything at all? We all had the same way of thinking, but we lacked the time to organize everything well. We should have addressed the people and told them that Mikhail Gorbachev was the prime enemy and the destroyer of the Communist Part and the Soviet Union. I am sure that it would have been understandable for the majority of the people, because, as we say it now, the president’s rating was very low. There were a lot of people who saw the criminal steps that he was making. The question of the deployment of military troops in Moscow was not an important issue. We should have been guided by the Constitution of the USSR.
It would be enough for the Office of the Prosecutor General of the USSR to open that red book and imprison everyone who infringed upon its spirit. To be more precise, there is article 64 of the Criminal Code of Russia: High Treason. The sense of this crime was particularly about the deliberate activity against the integrity of the Soviet Union. Boris Yeltsin would be the first man to go to jail. He unleashed a war for the separation of Russia, and rushed the law on the supremacy of republican laws over the ones of the union. All other national separatists would be sent to prison along with Yeltsin.
History does not stand the word “would,” but I think that this would have chilled out other hotheads as well. Therefore, if the Office of the Prosecutor General of the USSR had fulfilled its state duty, then there wouldn’t have been a need in the State Committee for Emergencies.
What about the events to defend the White House in Moscow? Was it an artificially organized national protest, or was it the real voice of the people indeed?
You have already answered this question yourself. The military men who took part in those events do not conceal that they were receiving instructions from the White House. This was an organized provocation, which did not have anything in common with people’s will.
What do you think about the path that Russia is currently on? What do you think about the actions of the current leadership? Are there any prerequisites for more catastrophes?
The course of the current regime does not have any development. It will eventually lead to a dead end. The government is trying to retrieve capitalism in a fast way. They realize that capitalism is totally incompatible with the interests of the majority of Russian people. The country does not have any official state ideology. There is no national idea, just because of the fact that it is impossible to create one. Capitalism is a society where money rules everything, where you can sell and buy anything, even morality.
Young people’s heads are being stuffed up with only one idea: money is your idle. Private oligarchics' capital is ruling Russia now. This is closely connected with the state bureaucracy and criminal groups. Both the president and the government are dancing to their tunes, whatever they might say or do for the people.
Putin’s regime started direct cooperation with the “world government” after the September 11 attacks. Putin’s regime and the aggressive NATO are being drawing together. There has been much damage done to Russia’s defensive capacity. Russia is not receiving anything in return, except for shallow promises. However, the government is still running this policy of treason. And if there is a catastrophe, then the government will have the support of foreign weapons.
The crash of capitalism is inevitable because of the objective laws of the public development. Even George Soros realizes that. He once wrote that the capitalist system does not show any tendency for balance. The owners of the capital will keep on saving it, until the situation goes out of control. Soros predicted the inevitable collapse of the world capitalism system. History does not know any alternative for capitalism except for socialism. We do not have any other way out, but to struggle for the restoration of Soviet power, socialism, and the USSR under the guidance of the single Communist Party.
Oleg Shenin was interviewed by Ilya Tarasov
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov