08/14/2021, 10.12
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Former Soviet hierarch says coup against Gorbačëv was staged

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Yuri Prokofiev speaks of a move to change the social-political scenario in the USSR; Gorbačëv was involved in the plan. Thesis of Western conspiracy nurtured. With Putin, today's Russia has restored the much mourned Soviet order.



Moscow (AsiaNews) - In August 1991, the attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev took place: the decisive event for the final collapse of the Soviet Union. The president of the USSR was on vacation in Soros, Crimea; the group known by the initials "GKCP" (State Committee for the Emergency Situation) took over the power, only to be stopped by the resistance formed around the Russian president Boris Yeltsyn.

In Russia the moment in history is being remembered and commented from various points of view, after a long season full of contradictions, and the restoration of a strong authoritarian power that again sends dissidents to prison camps. In recent weeks there have been reports of new accusations against the opponent Aleksej Naval'nyj, since January locked up in Vladimir for having founded an "extremist organization": the Fund for the Fight against Corruption, now dissolved by law.

The Lenta.ru website published a sensational interview with the 82 year old Jurij Prokof'ev (see photo). In the summer of 1991, he was a member of the Politburo and last first secretary of the Communist Party (Pcus) in Moscow (the then equivalent of the mayor), very close to the coup plotters. In his opinion, the attempted coup was "a provocation similar to the burning of the Reichstag in 1933," which had allowed Hitler's rise to power. According to Prokof'ev, it justified the dissolution of the CCP and the radical change of the social-political scenario in the country. Prokof'ev seems to give credence to those who today consider those events as a "plot" to bring Soviet Russia under the influence of the West.

The former Soviet hierarch puts the Moscow putsch on the same level as the "flower revolutions" in other Soviet states, "where other pretexts were used". Some of the anti-Gorbachev conspirators were not aware of the "provocation", but "thought they were acting to protect the homeland and the existing order; others wanted to come to power by exploiting the disorders". For Prokofiev, Gorbačëv himself was involved in the plan, along with "some KGB generals." The premises of the plot were Gorbačëv's political maneuvers, "which had brought the USSR to the threshold of absolute poverty. People had to stand in line for a piece of rancid salami, and this situation had been organized."

In the interview Prokof'ev also recalls the decisions of Yeltsyn, then president of the Russian Soviet Republic, to let Russian laws prevail over Soviet ones, and even the "scandal" of the creation of the Russian Communist Party on March 14, 1990, which "deprived the real Party, the Soviet one, of the organizing force of the state."

The regional sections of the CCP were then fundamental to the functioning of the system. They did not submit to the new "Moscow party": all the regional leaders began an independentist policy, and it is no coincidence that almost all of them remained for a long time at the head of the former Soviet republics, especially in Central Asia. The coup plotters would have attempted the coup in August to avoid the congress of the Pcus the following October, where all the contrasts would have emerged.

Prokofiev suggests that the mastermind and main protagonist of the coup, KGB chief Vladimir Krjučkov, was in cahoots with U.S. President George H.W. Bush (former CIA director).  Krjučkov was aiming at the presidency of the country. The affair was resolved without bloodshed, "thanks to a well-organized campaign, which made people think of possible interventions of the Armed Forces, which in reality were not foreseen". Yeltsyn climbed triumphantly on the tank "playing the figure of the peacemaker, while around him there were only drunk boys".

Prokof's interview expresses the widespread opinion that the USSR has been "sold out" by deception, and that the freedom gained after the end of the regime was nothing but "anarchy", from which only Putinism has saved Russia. For the "plotters," Gorbačëv's glasnost, which is commonly believed to be the beginning of freedom of expression in the USSR, was just a "propaganda campaign" to spread Western ideology. Today's Russia, in some ways, has restored the much-mourned Soviet order.

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