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Thursday, March 15, 2018

“By morning they’ll start a civil war”: Sergei Filatov about the August putsch

That day, August 20, 1991 — the same as the previous one, and several subsequent, — Sergey Filatov bezotluchno spent in the White house. Sergei Alexandrovich, who was then the Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR, headed an informal Deputy headquarters of defense of the Russian Parliament. About the climax of the confrontation between the emergency Committee and the defenders of democracy and who ultimately won, Sergei Filatov reflects in an interview with “MK”.

Sergey Filatov, with his assistant at the White house.

— Sergey Aleksandrovich, then you remember your thoughts and feelings? Whether they have changed compared to the first day of the coup — on August 19th?

On the second day was much more alarming. On this day, August 20, I felt that without bloodshed is not over. On this day I called a member of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of Yefim basin and reported that, apparently, there is a replacement of the military units entered the city the day before and already largely “promoted”. That new crews some “crazy eyes”, makes you suspect that they are stuffed with some kind of drugs. But the main thing — has changed dramatically the behavior of the military. They began to behave much more aggressively. Shoot over the heads of the tracer, do not come in contact… If before the military equipment was stopped, the crews don’t stop. If possible to prevent the movement of the front of the machine, following its pushes, does not stop. That’s when I went to these messages became really anxious. I thought: now it all will start…

— Had thoughts about what this day might be the last in your life?

— No, his thoughts were far from that. Often asked myself, why didn’t you come fear. And could not find the answer to this question. During all these days no fear do not exist.

But, as I understand it, the confidence in victory was also not one hundred percent?

— I understood that victory does not depend on us. It was necessary to raise people, it was necessary to explain the situation to them… It was then our main thing, and I think succeeded. The amount of support we are growing every day and eventually reached a critical mass, against which it is impossible and useless to use military force.

— You were in those days the head of the parliamentary staff to counter the coup. It was the official position?

— How formal? Any documents that were not provided. Just when I arrived on August 19 from Zheleznovodsk, Khasbulatov (at the time Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. — “MK”) has instructed me to properly organise the work of the deputies. So there were parliamentary staff. It was necessary to provide people with machines, it was necessary to organize the parliamentary group to conduct outreach to military garrisons, had to find a way to convey information from the White house to the rest of the country… That’s all I was doing in those days.

The drama happened in the night from 20 to 21 August at the intersection of the Garden ring and Kalinin Prospekt, which killed three young defenders of the White house today many are calling a tragic misunderstanding, as the armored vehicles, attacked protesters, like as not were going to collapse to the Russian Parliament. In other words, guys by and large have died in vain. Do not agree with this interpretation?

— Absolutely not. Take any battle — this is also a “misunderstanding”. Why he did this and not that? Why he rushed the attack, and not this one? But the fight was very real. After all, the coup was not only interested in the White house — they wanted everything they could to resist. If the guys felt what I felt and told me a basin, their actions were reasonable and justified.

— It is known that in the night from 20-go on 21-e you called the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. What was this conversation?

— Yes, somewhere in the second half of the night, when it was reported that blood was shed that in the tunnel the boys died, I asked to connect me with Nazarbayev, which I thought was the most influential person in Union outside of Russia. So it in fact was. First, I said that Nazarbayev’s resting. And after a while the telephone she called back to me, “I will connect you — understand that you have a really serious and urgent matter”. Woke him up. I said that we are crazy, blood was shed. And what if this madness does not stop — the morning will start a civil war. “I beg you — say — to use all its influence”. It is really then called Kryuchkov and perhaps even some members of the emergency Committee. And after a while, the armored vehicles began to leave from Moscow. It is difficult to say what contribution to this was made by Nazarbayev, but his role, his position, probably also played.

Putsch: three days in August. Chronicle of events

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