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Republica Moldova 30 de ani de independență

August 1991: Chronicle of failed coup (I)

Retrospective of events

By the summer of 1991, the Republic of Moldova had achieved a number of important achievements on its path to independence. The society had lived vibrant and optimistic moments with the adoption of the state flag, the exclusion of the constitutional norm that provided for the monopoly of the communist party, the declaration of sovereignty, the boycott of the union referendum for the preservation of the USSR. Gorbachev, being aware of the danger of the disintegration of the USSR, proposed a new union treaty. Rather, a first union treaty, because the previous ones were a fiction and did not correspond to international legal norms. In the case of the Republic of Moldova, the situation was much worse. Moscow did not even respect appearances, constituting the Moldovan SSR in August 1940 on its own, at Stalin's direction, without any legislative act adopted by Chisinau.

In August, traditionally, Moldovan state dignitaries went on vacation. At the helm of the country were Prime Minister Valeriu Muravschi and First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ion Hadârcă. It seemed that everything was going in the usual way and recently the holidays would be consumed, and the organs of state power would continue their normal activity.

However, the anti-reform group in the communist party understood perfectly that Gorbachev's transformations had reached a critical point. The formation of parliaments in the former union republics transferred real power from party structures to legislative bodies. The national liberation movements were gaining momentum and the new union treaty proposed by Gorbachev could be signed by a maximum of five republics. Others completely refused a new union or proposed a confederation without an imperial center. Communism and the Soviet empire, the work of several generations of indoctrinated nomenclaturists, were in great danger.

Under these conditions, in the second half of August 18, 1991, in Moscow, in secret, meet Gennady Yanaev, vice-president of the USSR, Dmitry Yazov, Minister of Defense, Boris Pugo, Minister of Interior, Vladimir Kriucikov, head of the KGB and Valentin Pavlov, Prime Minister of the USSR. However, the shadow leader of the coup was Anatoly Lukyanov, the speaker of the Soviet parliament, a conservative who did not hide his imperial convictions until the end of his life. This group plots a coup, called by contemporaries the August coup. Immediately, the presidential residence Foros in Crimea, where Gorbachev was with his family, was isolated, and all communication was interrupted. As a matter of urgency, the emissaries of the coup met with Gorbachev and proposed that he sign a request to leave office on health grounds. The Soviet president responded with a resounding refusal.

On August 19, early in the morning, at 06.00, Radio Moscow broadcast, in almost all the languages ​​of the Earth, the communiqué of the official TASS agency, having as source a certain State Committee for Exceptional Situations, announcing that Gorbachev was it would have suddenly worsened his health, which would have made him unavailable to lead the state and the party. Its duties were assumed by the members of that Committee. A state of emergency was declared for a period of six months, censorship was established, and tanks had to patrol the streets of Moscow. The committee planned to replace Gorbachev while he was on vacation, and to end the Soviet president's reform policy.

In Chisinau, the news from Moscow shocked everyone. But more careful observers of the political phenomenon did not overlook the previous resignations from the upper echelons of power in Moscow of two important supporters of democratization processes: Eduard Shevarnadze and Aleksandr Iakovlev. Both at the time of departure warned of the imminent danger of a coup. In the first half of August 19, General Osipov came to the Moldovan government and declared himself military commander of Chisinau, appointed by the coup. Prime Minister Muravschi refused any collaboration with the conspirators' representatives. And in the evening, the President of the Republic of Moldova Mircea Snegur and the head of the parliament Alexandru Moșanu arrived in Chisinau.

The first official position of the head of the statute, Mircea Snegur, is transmitted shortly. Here is just a snippet of this inspired political approach: "... The Soviet leadership, in its appeal to the Soviet people, practically renounces fundamental reforms, foresees the priority of the Constitution and the laws of the Union over the constitutions and laws of the republics. In this way they are annulled. peoples' rights to self-determination, their aspirations for independence and state sovereignty are blocked.In brutal style, the center, using dominant reactionary and anti-national forces in state structures, the army, the KGB, in some economic and political groups, tries to revive any price empire, to restore the dictatorship of the state and the party ..

The leadership of the Republic of Moldova declares that the domestic and foreign policy will be carried out only under the Constitution...

Late in the evening, tens of thousands of citizens gathered in the Grand National Assembly Square and vehemently condemned the Moscow coup. Moldova's leadership spoke in front of the crowd and urged them to organize groups to defend strategic objectives. All night, thousands of volunteers from different regions of Moldova arrived in Chisinau to defend the conquests of the national liberation movement.

Meanwhile, in Moscow, the only functioning television broadcast the first press conference of the coup. Lukyanov was absent and still preferred to act in the shadows. Prime Minister Pavlov was also absent. As it turned out, Pavlov, probably out of fear, was permanently drunk every day of the coup. The members of the self-appointed Committee looked completely disoriented, and Ianaev's hands were obviously trembling. The journalists were much more relaxed and asked questions to which the coup could not coherently articulate any answer. It became clear that the conspirators did not have a leader capable of taking responsibility for this coup.


to be continued

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