tv [untitled] August 19, 2011 3:30am-4:00am EDT
why don't what's really happening to the global economy with much stronger or no holds barred look at the global financial headlines. is a report on our. welcome back this is our team you live from moscow now here's a look at the main stories we're covering today the world's financial markets are can falsify a fresh wave of selling of it fears the world economy is declining experts with a bleak forecast on american and european growth saying both are dangerously close to recession. the u.s. russia still harness foreign internet service says to have played a pivotal role in the arab uprisings but critics say while spending millions to promote on life freedom broad washington is out to gain more control over events through the web. russia remembers the attempted coup twenty years ago that
disappears precipitated the breakup of the soviet union and ushered in a reborn country the failure of the overthrow brought a series of collapse us to communist institutions in the soviet states. cold was the soviet union already on the path to extinction despite a failed coup or could it have been reformed peter lavelle debates this were discussed next on our team. can you start. following the welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle
a coup that failed to change everything twenty years ago communist party hardliners attempted to derail me help out of a child's efforts to reform the soviet union in the coups aftermath the communist party was banned to be followed by the end of the u.s.s.r. could history have played out differently. to the serbs. to cross-talk the events of august one thousand nine hundred one i'm joined by geoffrey hosking in london he is america's professor of russian history at the university college london in oxford we have archie brown he's america's professor of politics at the university of oxford and indeed no god we go to nikolai petrovitch he is professor of politics at the university of rhode island are gentlemen this is cross talk that means you can jump in anytime you want but first let's have a look at the failed coup of one thousand nine hundred one.
on august nineteenth one thousand nine hundred one instead of tuning into the soviet national anthem citizens across the u.s.s.r. woke up to a radio announcement that would start a sequence of events leading to the eventual collapse of the soviet union issued by the self-proclaimed hardline state of emergency committee a nelson stated that mikhail gorbachev's efforts to reform the soviet union have gone into a blind alley and also declared a six month state of emergency in various regions of the country by that time gorbachev had already been removed and detained in his villa in the crimea with motivated the plotters to overthrow the existing order was the new union treaty designed decentralized political power within the u.s.s.r. and indirectly weaken the position of the all powerful communist party little did they know however that coup attempt would encounter strong resistance from many in
the military as well as the general public by that time and began to save or change as often happens in russia's history when the when these reforms start accumulating from the top. there's a sense of this in society there's obviously the sense there's no way things are going to go back to the way they used to be in order to assume control of the russian parliament building the committee order tanks to roll into moscow maurice yeltsin then considered a political maverick and reformist to lead russian parliamentarians in opposition to the coup and that's what he clearly all the decisions energy crazed by the state of emergency committee to get shortly most of the troops either decided to return to their barracks or join the resistance and just like that the committee's actions found parliament surrounded by armed and unarmed civilians but plotters of the coup found little support either within the political elite or the constituent republics that made up the soviet union as
a result the collapsed with minor loss of life on august twenty first. and returned to moscow but the soviet union would never see all of the new. state committee for the state of emergency people all they knew they wanted to do was stop whatever was happening in its tracks but they didn't have an alternative vision they didn't have really anything else to propose in its place other than the status quo ante let's go back where we had before nonstarter couldn't go anywhere got no traction in society at all and the second thing was simple planning bad planning ironically instead of curbing more of a child's performance project and reinvigorating the power of the communist party the coup plotters he sent their own political to mice real political power shifted to yeltsin who quickly moved to ban the party and a few months later the soviet union ceased to exist much attorney for cross-town r.t. . if i go to you first century local
go international later twenty years ago there was this coup what does it mean now twenty years after the fact there's a brand new russia it's unrecognizable from what happened twenty years ago when you teach your students when you talk to people about it what does it mean to you today sadly too little i think it's a more significant historical event than is often recognized in contemporary russia and especially as well as in the courses that we teach it was a singular moment because it revealed in. precise moment and in a beautifully tied up way. how important the communist party had become and of course just the significantly it launched the political fortunes of boris yeltsin. ok jeffrey i mean we would you agree with that i mean one of the
interesting things is that you know i think all of us when we study in the soviet union is that the communist party being all power for a very very powerful security forces a very powerful army the plotters had all all the tools they needed to pull it off but it was an utter utter failure how do you account for that i mean it wasn't because they lacked resources know it wasn't i would say absolutely decisive factor was the the generals were reluctant to fire on peaceful civilians they'd been through that experience in georgia a couple of years previously and it got into serious trouble they wanted to be absolutely certain that if they did fire on civilians in order to do so it was legal definitely legal whereas now we had two powers confronting each other and soviet union in the person of the emergency committee and russia and the person of yeltsin with corporate off somewhere in between so the generals didn't know how to
react archie what do you think about that i mean. you know when you look at going to charge for me at the moment you know he was he was put into the crimea he was there for a few days he looks like he'd been there he was he was basically put out of business and then he comes back the coup fails but he ends up being the ultimate victim of the coup to try to overthrow him. well that's true but i think a very important fact of the beginning was that gorbachev refused to be intimidated by the people who visited him they wanted him to give the imprimatur of legitimacy to what they were doing but in fact you know as general but any cough complain glittery god which of us on parliamentary expressions took them so and he told them where to go and that was important what was also crucially important was that you had the legitimacy of having been elected president of russia just a couple of months earlier if it wanted to cool or you know earlier it had more chance of success what do you think about that nickel i mean the timing of it all
here because the reform efforts weren't really yielding i mean maybe there was hope but the ugly facts on the ground the economy wasn't going was going down there was shortage is there was a there was debate but was it healthy debate was it really changing anything what about the timing if it had been a year before or six months later do you think we made any difference. on the one hand i don't think it would have made any crucial difference to the prospects of the communist party to reassert itself i think its days were already over and simply. demonstrated that it had no future in society but one of the myths that has lingered with us is this idea that if only a more reformist course had been chosen and the doubted that the u.s.s.r.
could have been preserved in some way. perhaps under the leadership of the communist party i think. it's unlikely that that would have succeeded and even before the coup in itself will these events the this integration of the union accelerate it nevertheless there was already a considerable hesitation of several states several republics to join the reform union treaty so i think it would have been a slow but gradual dissolution and perhaps there wouldn't even have been as much impetus in favor of reforms as there was in the immediate aftermath of the coup which he also tried to seize but didn't actually parlay into political and economic success that may call you've got to go to jeff around this because i think you
bring up a point that i i think are still very much argued in i wish we had stephen cohen on the program because he is a very strong position on this jeff it was the soviet union reformable first let's take the communist party let's talk about the territorial integrity later could it was a plan communist party. to be able to lead. or be legitimate in the eyes of the population a left original you could you know you know and actually create create a future a better future because they were at a dead end go ahead. no i don't think it was reformable and that's seems to be proved by the fact that gorbachev was a very constructive and intelligent reformer did his utmost to reform it and failed the union collapsed as a result i mean there were there were at least two major problems one of course was the economy gorbachev's reforms gave more scope to private enterprise but that merely sucked goods out of the state enterprises and so called shortages even worse shortages everywhere and the other of course was the nationality problem. intended
to give the national republic somewhat greater freedom and they took much more than he wanted. but there's one aspect of this which i think hasn't been mentioned is very important and that is the unexpected strength of the russian republic gorbachev's nationality reforms inside the communist party gave new strength to russia and the the coup and the conflict which followed from it was a confrontation between russia and the soviet union yeltsin when he got on that tank warned people that if they had paid the emergency committee they would be dealt with under the laws of russia when you think about that archie the whole reform ability of the communist party to slash the soviet union will talk about later in the program if a country could have stayed together but what about the communist party with a spent force either. i don't think it could have been reformed but i think it could have been transformed into a multi-party system but actually the communist party had already lost its monopoly
of power per the politburo by ninety ninety ninety one it was meeting all these once a month not once a week and power had moved elsewhere. god which often he went there because you know he was exercising power through the presidency and through his own long term large and were largely ignoring the politburo what gorbachev wanted to do was to split the communist party and lead its social democratic component he had tended to do that in the vendor ninety ninety one if it actually party congress but the split never took place because there was no longer. party to split. but that's i think was a possible to form the other thing i think could have happened was the creation of a different kind of union certainly without divulging republican are going to jump in right here to go to a break and after that short break we'll continue our discussion on the one nine hundred ninety one coup attempt state party.
downloads the official policy allocation to i phone the i pod touch from the i choose i'm still. life on the go. video on demand tease my old costs and r.s.s. feeds now in the palm of your. question on the quality dot com. welcome back to crossfire computer lavelle to remind you we're discussing the events of august ninety nine you want. to take. a nickel if i can because i'm going to you i mean archie brown brought up
a very interesting point before we went to the break about what got him off the gun shops plans to split up the communist party into competing factions me but isn't that still kind of a an old style a mentality of reform from the top down i mean. because we saw during the coup a lot of spontaneous spontaneity where people are saying no we're not going to go back to the old days and actually you know civil society became very very fertile with ideas again i mean got a bunch of by then was already out of step with the changes in society. i tend to i tend to agree with that point of view that you just articulated. i think. if good bye to all had somehow managed to push through his version of reforms the net result would not have been progressive change over time it would have been a dead weight on society for even longer sadly what happened in the aftermath of
the coup was that the impetus for reform that yeltsin attempted to seize was not thoroughly problem gaited as strongly as it could have been although there were some very notable steps taken such as the abolition of the communist party of the soviet union and on the day mediately after the coup the raising of the try of the tricolor flag as russia's national psyche these were all symbolic events and there was a great deal of fervor in the air at the time as as war can recall but sadly that got dissipated and i don't think you know even the communist party in its in its much weak in the form has managed or managed i should say that time to throttle significant changes especially regionally so i think if if there had been an attempt to to undergo a gradual transition the results would have been even less impressive you know you
differently had jeffrey it's interesting i mean we we've been talking about to russia the new russia emerging versus the soviet union it's really existed but it was really about good which often yeltsin after to end a lot of people will blame both political figures for making it very personal it was very about ambition is well and there are lofty ideas kind of got lost to the side because it was just a power struggle between two men. well that is partly true but there was a great deals going on as well one has to remember that the communist party of the soviet union was not just it wasn't an ordinary political party it was the administrative executive backburner of the soviet union and therefore splitting the party up was never likely to work it seems to me it could not have been transformed into a normal political party so change had to be very radical gilts in used the new car of russia the russian federation or as it was called in the russian soviet republic
as a weapon against gorbachev the irony was that got a chance conservative opponents to the same they set up the russian communist party in one thousand nine hundred that being a russian communist party before and one should remember that the present communist party in russia is the inheritor of the russian communist party not the communist party of the soviet union it's much more like a normal political party and it's been a kind of permanent opposition ever since the collapse of the soviet union archie what do you think about when we look at the power struggle between as the soviet union was. quickly going into dissolution it was about to the ambitions of two minute i'd go back to my original question i mean because we we see they were very close at one point and then they had a huge following out and it's very interesting when people ask me about their creed and you know and both of them for a lot of people in russia today twenty years out of the factory extremely unpopular political figures. yes it was partly that but neverless got rich off laterally was
prepared to give up office in order to preserve some kind of union i mean i think he had certain convictions and to go back to what we're talking about a moment ago it wasn't a question of having factions within the party it was actually splitting the party into several different parties the communist party of the soviet union had nationalist stalinist liberal social democrats conservatives it could have turned into a member of different parties and so that would have been a fundamental change transformational change but of course the coup did hasten the transfer of power from gorbachev to gilson which was not what they who thought of that it tended of course it really hastened the dissolution of the soviet union which was also the opposite of what they intended in a nickel i got i go ahead they were but it's really interesting to say you know what jeff had to say is that you know we have this communist party because the administrative apparatus of the state is well how do you separate the two go ahead . well. my sense of the communist party at the
time was although technically yes what we have today is the russian communist party is the inheritor of a of another organization but for all practical purposes the leadership at the time desired in defacto to reconstitute the communist party of the soviet union and i think that inheritance weighed heavily continues to sadly the way. to have a lay on the political leadership of the congress party which prevents them from becoming from making that final transition to social democracy which every leftist meaningful leftist political party in europe that emerged from marxism has undergone it's very interesting jeffrey what do you think about that because it. reflected upon that when you have become as party of russia we still hear ring out lenin and they talk about marx and all that and it is it you know twenty years after the fact you peel the most russians young russians is a zero. may i say yes but i don't think this is accurate analogy with the gun a
yeah. exactly terry jeffrey go ahead well i don't think this is really about communism a tool communism wasn't involved in the coup remember the coup plotters in their declaration never mention marx or lenin or communism they talk about the integrity of the soviet union and one has to remember that whilst many other non russian nations welcomed liberation from the soviet union the russians saw it as a deprivation and the russian communist party really represents two strands in russians thinking about their own country it represents of course soviet imperialism but it also represents the russian orthodox church the promise love me understanding of russia's history and it's an uneasy combination of the two and that's one reason why it hasn't really been all that effective it's trying to bring together two incompatible narratives about russia and persuade ordinary people that they should vote for that party ok do you are to find out who
you are twenty years on who who was the winner and who was who did anyone win from the coup twenty years ago. will yeltsin won but he was to be in beneficiary though i agree with what was said earlier by the collider he didn't recall most of his opportunities in that idea ninety's the transfer of property and not current crisis to pre-selected buyers that helped to discredit the very idea of democracy when you think that nikolai what do you think about that i mean other than yeltsin was anyone else a beneficiary from the failed coup. i believe that in the longer term perspective the history of this was a good thing in the same sense that going through a feverish night and breaking through the fever allows one even though you know one is that one is weakened by the illness one gradually becomes better i believe that
it would it was indeed better to have gone through this feverish episode than to drag out the illness and i'm not sure what the ultimate result would have been what we have now is preferable to that continued uncertainty. but another benefit is the non-inertial republic or no one in classical way and form their own nation states jeffery what do you think about that maybe minus the baltic republics is what was there any possibility that union could have stayed together under any circumstances . well i think what drove the union apart was the very determination and radical nature of god which else reforms if he had not undertaken as reforms of soviet union would do for it seems to me survive possibly for a long time even including the baltic republics after court which of started one can imagine a union treaty which would have created a more decentralized union probably as you say without the baltic republics. but without the back burn which it had in the communist party of the soviet union it would have been a very unstable place so i think probably not in the long run archie what do you
think about the noncommunist soviet union could it look i've come into existence again could it be viable. i think it could have been viable without a number of republics certainly without the baltic states but something closer to the european union today or into the old soviet union because the show went through several stages first of all founding a shoot a federation into a genuine federation but latterly he was prepared for a much looser kind of union something much more likely you and that i think would have been possible and possibly preferable for russians to what has happened because it was clearly in yeltsin's interest to get himself into the kremlin gorbachev vote to deprive russia of its centuries old links with the other countries and to have russians stranded in other countries where they were no longer. equal citizens in many cases was hardly in the interests of russia
because you think about that and then this is something that the russians are meant to live and russians have lamented this for twenty years as they did so many russians were found they found themselves on an on the wrong side of a border and not only russians and the sentiments are sufficiently widespread in ukraine in kazakhstan and below that with. probably given the emotions running at the time very high the time it's difficult to imagine another outcome particularly because local elites were very busy taking advantage of the situation at the same time there is a considerable frustration with the way things turned out because there is a sense that what they wanted was the separation that came about was produced under false pretenses in other words people wanted some sort of freedom and autonomy they didn't want it to be difficult to visit their uncles and relatives across the
border they don't understand why one has to go along with the other so i think that sort of ambivalence continues. although now things have become so entrenched that it's hard to think of a clear way to reintegrate again but i do think archie's point about of the model of a closer association along the lines of the e.u. is a viable one and seems to be the model that the new customs union between russia because it's done by a little with perhaps some day ukraine it is moving along those lines introducing twenty years later we might get to that many thanks to my guest sitting in oxford london a hindu cuticle in thanks to our viewers for watching us here r.c.c. in excitement remember across time.