Sergei Glaziev on the Soviet collapse. An interview with Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

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By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Thirty years after the dissolution of the USSR, Sergey Yurievich Glaziev speaks about the failure of Perestroika, the results of the introduction of capitalism in ex-USSR, the Chinese way and future prospects for Russia and the Eurasian Union.

Thirty years ago, in December 1991, the President of Russia, ex-member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Boris Yeltsin, took the initiative to dissolve the Soviet Union, with the support of the Presidents of Ukraine, Belarus and, of course, the United States of America. The three Presidents dissolved the USSR without taking into account the expressed will of the great majority of its citizens, who voted against the dissolution of their country in the referendum of March 1991. By dissolving the USSR, the three Presidents opened the door wide open to the introduction and domination of Capitalism in the ex-USSR, to the extension of NATO deep into the Soviet territory, to the advent of capitalist Globalization worldwide and to an avalanche of wars in the Balkans, in the USSR itself, in the Middle East and in Africa which followed, many of which continue to our day, all of which were made possible by the dissolution of USSR. The disappearance of the USSR along with the other socialist states of Eastern Europe has also created very favorable conditions for the demolition of the welfare state in Western Europe.

This dissolution could not have taken place if it was not preceded by the supposed “coup” of August 1991. We say “supposed”, because the coup plotters, who were among the legal Soviet government (with the exception of Gorbachev, whose role to this day remains rather unclear), did nothing except declare their intention to impose a state of emergency. They gave full freedom of movement and communication to Yeltsin, whom nobody tried to arrest, permitting him to present himself as a great hero and defender of “democracy” and to use even the Soviet TV for this purpose. Through this operation, Yeltsin was able to steal the powers of the Soviet authorities, neutralize any resistance in the military and security forces, ban the Communist Party and proceed to the culmination of his very real coup d’état with the dissolution of the USSR and the program of “shock therapy” (January 1992) by which all central planning mechanisms were abolished and most of the Russian population was suddenly pauperized. Two years later, in 1993, Yeltsin has bombed the Russian parliament, with the encouragement and applause of the delighted by all that US President Clinton and all other supposed democratic Western leaders, in order to open the way to the privatization of the Soviet state property, which proved to be the greatest looting of all times and all places in History.

Three years after the events of August 1991, an article by Samuel Hearsh did not leave any serious doubt that Western secret services had the supervision of all this “August coup by hardliners” and took care to ensure the smooth evolution of events. We believe all that would be impossible to happen if a considerable part of the Soviet state and party nomenclatura, in critical positions, had not developed long ago extensive cooperation with Western forces. The perpetrators of the supposed August 1991 coup were amnestied under Yeltsin. General Varennikov refused to be pardoned and he was finally acquitted by the Supreme Court of Russia.

We discussed the August 1991 “coup”, the reasons for the failure of Gorbachev’s reforms and the prospects of Russia, the Eurasian Union and world economy with the Russian academician Professor Sergei Glaziev. Professor Glaziev, in his capacity as an advisor of President Putin, has been the architect of the Eurasian Union, regrouping a number of ex-Soviet Republics. He is an important Russian intellectual and politician, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a renowned specialist in Kondratieff’s long economic cycles and an influential opinion leader with leftist views in post-communist Russia. Our interview with him took place last August.

Part two of the interview will follow tomorrow.


Thirty years have passed since the August 1991 coup, if it really was one, which opened the way for the dissolution of the USSR, but still, many things remain unclear about it. Do you believe it was a real coup and if it was why it failed so miserably? Why did the State Committee on the State of Emergency (GkChP) not arrest Yeltsin and let him present himself as a hero of a “democratic revolution”? What was Gorbachev’s role?

(Note: The State Committee on the State of Emergency, ГКЧП in Russian, was created on August 19th 1991 and was comprised of eight members, the Soviet Vice President Gennady Yanayev, Premier Valentin Pavlov, Interior Minister Boris Pugo, Defense Minister Marshal Yazov, Chairman of the KGB Vladimir Kryuchkov, First Deputy Chairman of the Defense Council Oleg Baklanov, Chairman of the Peasants’ Union Vasily Starodubtsev and President of the Association of State Enterprises Aleksandr Tizyakov- DK.)

Unfortunately, none of the members of the State Emergency Committee is now alive, so there is no one to answer your question. I can only express my subjective opinion based on the following facts.

Almost the entire party and economic elite of the country supported the GKChP. All the regional committees of the CPSU and the Soviets of People’s Deputies expressed their support for the preservation of the USSR and the socialist system, sending telegrams to Moscow in support of the GKChP with demands to put an end to the rocking of the situation and the collapse of the country. The KGB, whose head was one of the members of the GKChP, had all the opportunities and grounds to arrest Yeltsin. KGB special forces tracked all Yeltsin’s movements as he drove from his suburban dacha to the House of Soviets. But the problem was that these people had no desire to seize power. They had no plan of action, no determination to take control of the situation. They did not plan a coup d’ etat, they were just seeking to preserve Soviet statehood. Having declared a state of emergency and having sent troops to Moscow, they flew to Gorbachev for a political solution. But Yeltsin had a clear plan to usurp power and he used every minute of delay on the part of the State Emergency Committee to strengthen his position. I know for sure that he and his entourage were trembling with fear, sitting in the bunker of the (Russian) House of Soviets waiting for the assault. In this case, there was an urgent evacuation plan to the US Embassy, which was located nearby. Next to him were Burbulis and Gaidar, who later headed the first independent government of Russia, as for the acting government of the RSFSR (Russian Federation), headed by Silayev, mostly fled. (Note: Bourboulis held several high positions in the first Russian government, including Secretary of State, and was one of the drafters and signers of the Belavezha Accords to dissolve the USSR. He was one of the main architects of Russian political and economic “reform”, whose effect on the Russian economy was comparable to the effect of the 2nd World War. He was probably the main person assuring the contact between Yeltsin and US special services. Gaidar has also played a central role in the destruction of Russian/Soviet economy and he was a staunch supporter of the bombing of the Russian Parliament in 1993 – DK.)

Probably, the GKChP was preceded by some kind of political provocation by Gorbachev. Having gone on vacation to the Crimea, he apparently gave an unspoken command or consent to “tighten the screws” to the loose mechanism of Soviet statehood. Something like a word “try to restore order”, which was understood by the hawks that he will support their decisive actions. It is still not completely clear who was the leader and inspirer of the GKChP. Some of its members, such as Starodubtsev or Baklanov, were included in it “for the company”. Starodubtsev said that he had received a call the day before and was asked to “speak for the peasants.” None of the members of the GKChP showed the political will to make a decision on the use of force against Yeltsin and his supporters, who seized the initiative and, having gathered several thousand of their supporters around the House of Soviets, in fact, they themselves launched a coup d’ etat. A ferment began among the military, some of the military commanders brought to Moscow began to move to Yeltsin’s side. The members of the State Emergency Committee were waiting for a political decision from Gorbachev, who for some reason had been locked up in his residence in the Crimea.

Gorbachev, having learned that a crowd of activists supporting Yeltsin had gathered in Moscow, which it was impossible to disperse without victims, was frightened and accused the members of the GKChP of trying to usurp power. Yeltsin took advantage of his indecision and declared himself the winner and savior of the nascent “democracy”. He seized the leadership and began a rapid seizure of power.

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