Powerless people take to the streets
Monday 29 March 1993
They had followed a tortuous route, marching past the symbols of their power, falling in a sombre mood before the greatest of them all, the plinth on Lubyanka Square which once supported 14 tons of bronze. Only the stump of Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the Communist secret police, lingers as a distant memory of the last time the people of Russia seized their destiny. When Felix tumbled in the aftermath of the failed coup in August 1991, it brought the entire edifice of Communism crashing down, burying the Soviet Union in the rubble.
Or so it was thought. The people who trudged through the slush yesterday, chanting 'Yeltsin, Freedom, Russia', were led by a banner depicting a Neanderthal creature armed with a hammer and a sickle. It read: 'Warning - They're Back'.
And they were, moving in a straight line from Gorky Park to the Kremlin, under their nostalgic red flags, usurping the slogan of East Europe's revolutions: 'We are the people.' In their crowd of up to 20,000, Communists and nationalists mingled with ease, sustained by a common conviction that Russia was in peril; Boris Yeltsin was selling out their country to the the West. They screamed for Mr Yeltsin's arrest and called for a return to Soviet power.
The two crowds, separated by rows of buses and a phalanx of policemen, never came into contact, and seemed almost unaware of each other's existence. Their attentions were fixed on the goings-on at Congress.
Russia's fate was once again being decided by a few hundred men inside the Kremlin, and the people were feeling like extras on a giant movie set. 'So what are we supposed to do now?' a woman asked in frustration as news of Congress rejecting Mr Yeltsin's compromise for early elections filtered out. Nobody had an answer.
The spell was broken only when their hero appeared on the podium, punching the air and flashing the victory sign. He was looking fit, unlike the previous night when he seemed devastated by the death of his mother. 'I submit to the will of the people,' Mr Yeltsin pledged.
Those in front applauded, those on the other side of the cordon booed, and the deputies in Congress carried on passing their amendments regardless.
- 2 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...