'Congress is a bulwark of reaction': Extracts from President Boris Yeltsin's speech to Congress

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The Independent Online
Extracts from President Boris Yeltsin's speech to Congress:

I AM making a direct appeal to the Russian people. What they failed to do in August 1991, they have decided to repeat now by way of a creeping coup . . .

The citizens of Russia have seen what many of their elected representatives have actually been been up to. The same faces at the microphones, the same words heard from the platform.

The walls of this hall have blushed from the endless insults, the vulgar abuse against specific people, from the malice, rudeness and disrespect, from the dirt which the Congress is filled with from the sick ambitions of failed politicians. Their brawls are a disgrace to the whole world . . .

The Congress is blocking reform. Reforms in Russia are in serious danger. Congress is a bulwark of conservative forces and reaction. It threatens to destroy all the positive processes and to prevent stabilisation in this country . . .

The constitution, or what has become of it, is turning the Supreme Soviet and its leadership and Chairman into the absolute rulers of Russia.

They stand above all bodies of executive power and, as before, are responsible for nothing. They are striving finally to bind the MPs by collective guarantee of irresponsibility and fear of losing their seats. All this is very similar to what existed when the country was ruled by the Politburo of the Communist Party . . .

I am calling on the Congress to organise a referendum on who should carry out the revival of Russia - the present Congress or the President . . .

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