The fiery shadow of Black October
By Ekaterina Polguieva
October 3, 2015: The symbol of “My 90s” will always be a photograph of the October 1993 days: the charred House of Soviets as the backdrop to an advertising billboard screaming, “Rendezvous with America.” The Soviet power and its defenders have already been shot, the insurrection is suppressed, the liberal media curses the “red-brown” from morning to night, demanding new massacres, communist and patriotic newspapers are banned. There are no longer any barriers to the greatest deception — “privatization” — and the looting of public property, war in the Caucasus, terrorism and banditry.
|‘Rendezvous with America’: Moscow, October 1993.|
From the blood of hundreds of people who were executed, in December 1993, the “Yeltsin Constitution” emerged — the first arrogantly rigged public vote by the authorities, a prologue to the future curtailment of democratic rights and freedoms.
Let us recall the well-known testimony of the events of October 4, 1993, by then-head of Kalmykia, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov:
“We arrived in the Kremlin. At 15.00 a meeting of the Federation bodies began. And we came directly from the White House [House of Soviets] with Ruslan Aushev, and we were dirty, because we had to dive on the ground, in the hallways, as we came to this meeting. The meeting had just begun, and at that time direct fire was being launched at the White House. Ruslan Aushev got up … and started speaking to Chernomyrdin: “Viktor Stepanovich, good deputies, bad deputies, good or bad Supreme Soviet, but we saw children, women there. There are five hundred or six hundred dead. Stop this slaughter.” To which the leaders of Russia said that they need to be destroyed, wiped off the face of the earth. Then Boris Nemtsov, governor of Nizhny Novgorod, jumped up: “Crush them, Viktor Stepanovich, there is no time. Destroy them!”
And today, the boomerang of violence returns in the most literal sense to those who demanded “to crush and destroy.” But neither then nor now do the liberals of Russia — those who spared no victims for their own “rendezvous with America” – seem to have realized that if “in the name of democracy” it is possible to destroy a legally-elected parliament together with the people inside, then “for the sake of stability” the authorities will stop at nothing.
“I, a convinced and consistent anti-communist, take the liberty to assert that the regime that has triumphed today in Russia is worse, more shameless and more hopeless than the former, because it offers society a game without rules, an existence outside of law and in the power of a criminal oligarchy,” said the Russian writer Vladimir Maximov, then living in Paris, just before the October shooting.
It would seem that everything was quite obvious, at least for those who had common sense, and most importantly, conscience and goodwill. For those who really wanted the good and prosperity of their country, and not just to grab a big or small piece of it.
Twenty-year-old Muscovite Sergei Novokas, as his friends said, was never interested in politics. On October 1, 1993, he unexpectedly put on a winter coat and left, saying only: “It’s time.” Because he understood and wanted to live the truth. Sergei was buried the following February. For five long months, his mother tried to find her son — alive or dead. The death certificate of the Sklifosovsky Institute recorded: “He died on October 5, 1993. Reason: a gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen. Participant of events on October 3-5.” The posthumous photo (not for the sentimental-nostalgic crowd) shows two bullet wounds in the forehead, the right side of the skull demolished … Obviously, Sergei was shot by the punitive men in military or police uniforms, at close range.
Scary, irreparable. But the name of Sergei Novokas, unlike the names of the many unknown heroes of October 1993, remains for history, as well as the single word “Pora” [It’s time], which became his epitaph. Since then, more than two decades have passed, and so many words have been written about the events, including high-minded, beautiful and correct ones! But what do words mean if they are not backed by action, a capacity for self-sacrifice?
If you don’t recall the timeworn bullet marks on the walls of the Arbat houses, you can pretend that a civil war was not announced by thundering tanks in October 1993. And don’t tell the kids about it — why should they know the bad news? It’s possible, in the Duma dominated by United Russia, to refuse to pay tribute to the victims of Black October in Moscow. But its shadow has covered all of us for these 22 years — a cannonade in Grozny 1995, Tskhinval 2008, Donetsk 2014, “unknown snipers” in the Kiev Maidan, murdered children in the Beslan school and flames in the Odessa House of Trade Unions.
Student Yuri Peskov was killed on October 4, 1993, at the White House. On the 40th day after Yuri’s death, a summons was sent to his house to serve in the army. As his father put it in those days, “Yuri, it turns out, must still serve in the very army that killed him.”
It seems that nothing connects Yuri Peskov with Odessan Gennady Kushnarev, except for their year of birth — 1975. But Yuri lived 18 years and 8 days, and Gennady died a month before his 39th birthday. On May 2, 2014, Kushnarev, one of the commanders of the Odessa militia, a supporter of the Communist Party of Ukraine, was killed in the House of Trade Unions. His body was stabbed in the chest and sneered over by Ukrainian fascists. And six months after his death, a summons arrived for Gennady Kushnarev — drafting him into the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation], to kill his compatriots in the Donbass.
But for some reason it is not pointed out that the deaths of Yuri Peskov and Gennady Kushnarev are connected by the fact that Gennady fought for the same values that were crushed in 1993.
And the war that began with the assassination of the USSR and the execution of Soviet power continues. It catches up with those who were born and raised in the Soviet Union, and those who were born in the years after its destruction. But those who fell for our united Soviet homeland in 1993 are not the last of its defenders. Now on the same barricade are those who rescued the Donbass from the new fascists and rabid anti-Soviets.
And that’s why it’s so important not to forget, so that the bloody wheel finally stops. But a memory is not enough, it must become action — it’s time.