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Happy Government Conspiracy Day! - Alex Belits
Happy Government Conspiracy Day!
13 years ago, on August 19 1991 a group of high-ranking USSR government officials attempted a coup to remove Mikhail Gorbachev from power. Neither a political climate, nor levels of organization of the sides were favorable for the coup leaders that called themselves GKChP. After all kinds of posturing that involved statements made on national TV, tanks being brought into Moscow, Parliament building being under siege for a while, and other attempts of asserting the power by both GKChP and Russian Parliament, the coup failed, with Russian Parliament and Boris Yeltsin getting the credit for it.

Gorbachev was not involved in the events in anything but a passive role, and the creation of the very possibility of the coup was blamed on the ineptitude of the USSR government in general, and Gorbachev in particular. Though the events themselves did not result in any transfer of power, they have discredited the USSR government at the extent that soon the central government was dissolved, passing the power to the smaller copies of itself that in the "republics" of USSR. After being given this "independence" the governments quickly shown to the locals that they are not any different from their former master, except for rampant corruption, nationalism and irresponsible policy in economy. While Americans celebrated "victory over Communism", "collapse of the USSR" and other bullshit, new leaders, after losing their master, damaged the economy of their countries further, dismantled the common infrastructure, chosen the new oligarchy from their ranks, and did many other things that neither Gorbachev, nor the rest of the population would approve of.

But what happened to the original "heroes" of that story, the GKChP? One of them killed himself, however all others, after spending some time in jail, supposedly under investigation, have got amnesty, returned home, and were left alone. In a way, both sides that were "fighting" (that is, ordering tanks to run around, and trash-talking on the streets) in Moscow in August of 1991 got some of their wishes -- Gorbachev and his indecisive Supreme Soviet were out, Yeltsin was in, the rest of USSR went to the local Communists and nationalists, with nothing but a negative net result for the rest of the population.

So, the moral of the story is, if you start a coup to overthrow a government that you are already a part of, it is not important if you win or lose. What is important is, if the people who will benefit from it are the same people that you wanted to put in power -- because very likely it won't be you regardless of the formally declared outcome. What were the original goals, and how much of them actually got achieved, I will leave as an exercise for the reader because I really don't know. No one really knows, and it's pretty much irrelevant by now, except for the purpose of dispelling some truly idiotic myths about how the USSR had ended.

Happy Government Conspiracy Day!
4 comments or Leave a comment
mackys From: mackys Date: August 19th, 2004 09:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wait a minute here...

After being given this "independence" the governments quickly shown to the locals that they are not any different from their former master, except for rampant corruption, nationalism and irresponsible policy in economy.

Weren't you implying that the regional governments were significantly different than the old Supreme Soviet? ;]

Good info. Thanks for posting.

abelits From: abelits Date: August 19th, 2004 11:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wait a minute here...

Actually there was a difference. At the "republic" level the damage that could be caused by corruption was less than at the top, therefore it was tolerated much more than in the central government. Nationalism (and all kinds of things that could hide behind the nationalistic slogans) also was something that the central government had to actively suppress, to keep the union together. On the other hands local governments, just after the dissolution of the union, had hordes of newly-organized nationalist leaders and parties lined up for elections, presenting themselves as a force that is going to fight Communists and "oppression from Moscow" (except in Russia, where they were merely nationalist, with some prominent antisemitic bent, and anti-Communist).
dk379 From: dk379 Date: September 6th, 2004 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
just wait until independent California would happily split so it can make its own great laws and explore it's unique position as a country's farm, fishery, and fruit basket.

Of course we would be all better off without that central republican dictatorship.

oh wait... this is not 1985 and no great leader have died yet.
abelits From: abelits Date: September 6th, 2004 12:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
There is one more problem -- how would be "москаль" in English?
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