When it seemed that there was no reason to expect a successful outcome, the day of October came on 3. I do not remember how I learned that the opponents of the president, who had gathered on Smolenskaya Square, two kilometers from the White House, dispersed the fighters of the internal troops, who blocked their path to parliament. It seemed incredible. I jumped out of the house and was stunned: the police and the troops seemed to have dissolved in the air at the wave of a magic wand.
Thousands of jubilant crowds flocked freely along the streets to the building of the Supreme Council. The breakthrough of the blockade, which yesterday seemed unthinkable, became a reality. I regretted having forgotten the camera, but did not want to go back. Perhaps it saved my life: in the coming hours, almost everyone who shot what was happening on camera: Russians and foreigners, cameramen and photographers, professional journalists and amateurs, were killed or seriously injured.
A group of armed men, led by General Albert Makashov, rushed to the mayor's office, located in the "book" of the former CMEA building. Shots rang out. People began to hide behind parked cars. However, the shootout was short-lived. A satisfied Makashov came out of the mayor’s office, who solemnly announced that “from now on, there will be no mayors, peers or heres in our land.”
And on the square in front of the “White House” a rally of thousands of people was already raging. The speakers congratulated the audience on the victory. All around, like mad, shouted one phrase: "On Ostankino!" Television lies are so fed up with supporters of parliament that, it seems, at that moment no one doubted the need to immediately capture the television center and go on the air with a message about the events at the White House. .
A group began to form for a raid on Ostankino. I found myself near the buses for the transport of fighters of internal troops, abandoned near the building of the Supreme Soviet, and without much hesitation sat in one of them. From the “crew” of our bus, the author of these lines, who was not yet thirty, was the “oldest”: the rest of the passengers were 22-25 years. There was no one in camouflage, ordinary young students of a student type. Absolutely remember that in our bus there was no weapons. In those moments it seemed quite natural: after breaking the blockade, it seemed that all other goals would be achieved in the same wonderful bloodless way.
Our convoy turned out to be about a dozen pieces of equipment - buses and covered military trucks. Having traveled to Novoarbatsky Avenue, we found ourselves in the middle of a sea of people enveloped in delight, which accompanied us several kilometers from the White House along the Garden Ring to Mayakovsky Square. (Then the crowd was less frequent, and it completely dispersed to Samotek.) I think that during those hours at least two hundred thousand citizens came to the Moscow central highways free from transport. Needless to say, the appearance of a column moving on Ostankino caused a rush of triumph. The impression was that we were not driving on the asphalt of Moscow streets, but were sailing on the waves of universal celebration. Was the shame of Yeltsin’s government over, gone, vanished, like an obsession, like a bad dream ?!
Euphoria played a cruel joke with supporters of the Supreme Council. As many of the interlocutors later admitted to me, on October 3 they went home in full confidence that the work was done. As a result, no more 200 people arrived at Ostankino, and of these, about 20 were armed. Then the number of “assailants” increased: it seems that “our” buses managed to make another flight to the White House and back to Ostankino; someone arrived on their own, someone on public transport — but all these were unarmed people, like me, doomed to the role of extras.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the “assault” demanded that they be given airtime. They were promised something, meaningless negotiations began, precious minutes were lost, and with them the chances of success eluded. Finally, from words to business. However, the matter was both conceived and executed very badly. Militants from among supporters of the Supreme Council decided to “storm” the ASK-3 studio complex. This is a “glass”, built for the Olympics-80, which was not difficult to penetrate, given the huge perimeter of the building, which is clearly not adapted to repel attacks.
However, a disastrous decision was made to attack head-on - through the main entrance. Meanwhile, the main hall of the ASK-3 consists of two tiers, with the upper semicircle hanging over the ground floor, it is bordered by a concrete parapet, decorated with marble tiles. (In any case, it was in those times.) The ideal position for defense is that one who penetrates through the main entrance and immediately goes into crossfire, while the defenders are practically invulnerable. Makashov could not have known this, but the former TV man Anpilov was well aware.
Makashov decided to repeat the trick that had worked in the former CMEA building: they tried to ram the doors of the main entrance of the studio complex with a truck, but he was stuck under the visor covering the entrance. The chances of success are even theoretically reduced to zero. I still do not leave the feeling that if the head of supporters of the Supreme Council were not a cabinet strategist and tribunal chrysostom Makashov, but a commander-paratrooper, the situation could have developed according to a different scenario. Even taking into account all currently known circumstances.
At that moment there was an explosion inside the building. Following from the studio complex, there were automatic gunfire, mowing people who were outside. Later it will be known that the special forces soldier Sitnikov was killed in that explosion. Pro-presidential forces immediately laid the blame for his death on supporters of parliament, who allegedly used a grenade launcher. However, the State Duma Commission, which was investigating the events of October 93, concluded that at the time of the explosion Sitnikov was lying behind a concrete parapet, and getting into it when fired by the attackers was excluded. However, the mysterious explosion was a pretext to open fire on supporters of the Supreme Council.
It got dark. Increasingly, the gunfire rang out. Appeared the first victims among civilians. And here again I came across Anpilov, who was muttering something encouraging, like, “Yes, they are shooting ... And what did you want? To be met with flowers here? ”It became clear that the march on Ostankino ended in complete failure, and then the White House was inevitably falling.
... I headed towards the nearest metro station ENEA. Passengers were taken aback at the boys entering the wagon with shields and rubber truncheons - they picked up this ammunition from the White House abandoned by the special forces and were in no hurry to part with the "trophies." The perplexity of the subway passengers was easily explained. This Sunday evening, people were returning from the countryside from their garden plots, harvesting and taking out the crop, not even knowing that at that time unarmed citizens were being shot in the streets of Moscow. Until now, I haven’t decided for myself what it is: the shameful indifference of the people is to dig up potatoes at the time when the fate of the country is being decided, or, on the contrary, its greatest wisdom. Or this episode is not a reason to think about such lofty matters ...
Anatomy of provocation
Now, after years, it is possible to judge with confidence what scenario took place in Moscow during these autumn days of 1993. By the end of September, it became obvious to Yeltsin’s entourage that it would not be possible to solve the “problem” of the Supreme Soviet without a lot of blood. But to give a follow-up to the force option for the time being lacked spirit. Moreover, there was no certainty how the security forces would behave when they received such an order. It is difficult to say for whom time worked in that situation: on the one hand, the noose around the neck of the parliament tightened all the more tightly, on the other - the moral authority of the Supreme Council and the sympathy of society towards its supporters grew every day. The information blockade could not be hermetic: the further, the more Russians learned the truth about the events in Moscow.
This wobbly balance was unwittingly broken by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexy II. Driven by the best of intentions, the patriarch offered his mediation services for the negotiations that took place on October 1. It was impossible to refuse Alexis's proposal, but consent to negotiations implied readiness for compromises. They, in fact, were achieved: they restored communication in the White House, resumed the power supply. Also, the parties signed a protocol on the phased "removal of the sharpness of confrontation."
However, for Yeltsin’s entourage, such a scenario was unacceptable: they started a “phased constitutional reform” for the complete elimination of parliament, and not for the search for points of contact. Yeltsin had to act, and act immediately. Meanwhile, after the intervention of the patriarch, the forceful seizure of the White House became impossible: “reputational costs” were too great. It means that the blame for the violation of the truce should have fallen to the Supreme Soviet.
The following scenario was selected. The leader of the movement "Labor Russia" Viktor Anpilov, who in this episode (it seems that quite consciously) played the role of provocateur, convened a regular rally of supporters of parliament. Having waited until the number of the rally crowd reaches an impressive size, Anpilov suddenly urged those gathered to go for a breakthrough. As Anpilov himself said, the old women who responded to his cry began to throw themselves into the cordon with what they came hand in hand, after which the soldiers rushed scatteringly, dropping shields and batons. This stampede and the sudden disappearance of several thousand soldiers and police officers stationed around parliament were undoubtedly part of a well-thought-out plan.
Such a rapid change in the situation disoriented opposition leaders: they simply could not imagine what to do with this freedom that suddenly fell upon them. For them, others have thought. Alexander Rutskoi argued that, urging him to go to Ostankino, he only repeated what was said around him; I believe his words can be trusted. It was enough for a pair of shrill voices, so that this cry, having found a response in the hearts of those gathered at the White House, responded a thousandfold. And here, by the way, buses and trucks with ignition keys carefully left were useful.
With a gun, Vice President Rutskoi felt much more confident than in negotiations.
And now let's see what “Ostankino assault” meant in tactical terms. In the Presny area there are about two hundred thousand supporters of the Supreme Council. Two and a half kilometers from the White House there is a complex of buildings of the Ministry of Defense, in three - the residence of the president in the Kremlin, and four and a half kilometers - the building of the Russian government. At most an hour, and the two hundred thousandth crowd, moving on foot, will reach the farthest point of this route, and even surely new people will join it on the way.
To cope with this avalanche, even unarmed, is extremely difficult. Instead, attention shifts to distant Ostankino, where 20 armed rebels reach, half of the city, some of whom don’t even have any idea how to handle weapons. In parallel with the column from the “White House”, special forces of the Interior Ministry “Vityaz” advanced to Ostankino. This is a hundred armed professionals. In total, on that day, the television station was guarded by 1200 representatives of various security forces.
Now Yeltsin had his hands untied. On the morning of October 4, he spoke on the radio (the main TV channels had stopped broadcasting the night before), stating that supporters of the parliament "raised a hand on the elderly and children." It was an obvious lie. That evening, several dozen supporters of the Supreme Soviet were killed and wounded near Ostankino. On the opposite side, in addition to the aforementioned commando Sitnikov, an employee of the television center Krasilnikov was killed. Meanwhile, according to the results of the examination and the testimony of witnesses, the shot that struck Krasilnikov was made from inside the building, which, I remind, was guarded by the soldiers of the internal troops and the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
It is clear that the presidential side needed not the truth, but a reason to start a military operation. But still, Yeltsin’s morning statement sounded somehow very strange - not as improvisation, but as part of a piece that, for some reason, was not implemented, but went into action under different circumstances. What was the preparation, it became clear a little later, when snipers appeared in Moscow, the victims of which were passers-by. The author was a witness to their “work” on the New Arbat in the afternoon of October 4. I had to move by rushes through the lanes in order not to fall under their fire.
And here we need to remember another strange statement. In the evening of October 3, Yegor Gaidar called on supporters of “democracy” to come to the residence of the mayor of Tverskaya, 13, which allegedly needs protection from the upcoming Khasbulatists attack. The statement is completely absurd: no one even thought about Yuri Luzhkov’s headquarters during the day, much less remembered about this “object” when Ostankino had events at its height. But even if there was at least some real background under this threat, why did it take to cover the mayor's office with a living shield from Muscovites, when by that time the siloviki had already taken control of the situation in central Moscow?
What is behind the call of Gaidar: confusion, fright, inadequate assessment of the situation? I believe that sober calculation. Yeltsinists were collected from the city government building not for the sake of mythical protection, but as suitable targets, cannon fodder. It was in the evening of 3 that snipers had to work on Tverskaya, and then in the morning Yeltsin received reason to accuse the rebels of raising their hand to "the old men and children."
Official propaganda indicated that snipers (of which, of course, no one was arrested) had arrived to defend the Supreme Council from Transnistria. But in the afternoon of October 4 sniper fire on the Muscovites could not help the supporters of the parliament - either in the military or in the information, in any other respect. But the damage - very much so. Yes, and Transnistrian plavni is not the best place to gain experience for the conduct of hostilities in the metropolis.
Meanwhile, Tverskaya (as well as New Arbat) refers to a special route, where every adjacent house, its entrances, attics, roofs, are well known to specialists of the competent authorities. The media repeatedly passed information that at the end of September, the head of the Yeltsin guard, General Korzhakov, met at the airport a mysterious sports delegation from Israel. Perhaps these "athletes" and took combat positions on the roofs of buildings on the evening of Tver 3 October. But something did not grow together.
I must say that the Yeltsinists that day did not grow much. And it was inevitable. The overall plan of the provocation was clear, but there was little time to prepare, coordinate and coordinate actions. In addition, the service involved various agencies, whose leaders played their games and tried, taking advantage of the situation, to bargain for personal additional bonuses. In this setting, the linings were predictable. And they had to pay for them to ordinary police and military personnel.
Quite a lot has been said about exchanges of fire between pro-government forces in the Ostankino area and their victims. I will tell about an episode unknown to a wide audience.
A few days after the October tragedy, I had a chance to talk with the fire brigade of the television center who were on duty on that fateful night. According to them (the sincerity of which hardly makes sense to doubt) in the underground passage between ASK-3 and the main building of Ostankino they saw pools of blood. Since both complexes were occupied by troops loyal to Yeltsin, this was obviously the next result of a crazy exchange of fire between their own.
The denouement of the tragedy was drawing near. Yeltsin introduced a state of emergency in Moscow. On the morning of October 4, on the bridge across the Moskva River across from the White House appeared Tanksthat began to shell the main facade of the building. The leaders of the operation claimed that the firing was carried out by blank charges. However, an examination of the premises of the White House after the attack showed that, in addition to the usual blanks, they fired cumulative charges, which in some rooms burned everything together with the people there.
The killings continued after the resistance of the defenders was broken. According to the written testimony of a former employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the security forces who broke into the “White House” staged a massacre of the defenders of parliament: they slaughtered, finished off the wounded, raped women. Many were shot or beaten to death after they left the parliament building.
According to the findings of the State Duma Commission, in Moscow during the 21 events of September - 5 of October 1993, years were killed or died from their injuries around 200 and were injured or other injuries of varying severity of almost 1000 people. According to unofficial data, the death toll is at least 1500 people.
Instead of an epilogue
Opponents of the presidential course were defeated. However, the bloody autumn of 93 remained the dominant factor in the political life of Russia throughout Yeltsin’s rule. For the opposition, it became a point of moral support, for the power, a shameful stigma that could not be laundered. Pro-presidential forces felt short-lived winners: in December of the same 1993 of the year, they suffered a crushing fiasco in the elections to the new legislative body - the State Duma.
In the 1996 year at the presidential election, at the cost of unprecedented informational pressure and massive fraud, Yeltsin was re-elected to the presidency. At that time, he was already a screen covering the domination of oligarchic groups. However, in the conditions of the most severe crisis caused by the default on government bonds and the collapse of the national currency, Yeltsin was forced to appoint Yevgeny Primakov to the post of Prime Minister. The program of the new premier on key points coincided with the demands of the defenders of the White House: independent foreign policy, rejection of liberal experiments in the economy, measures to develop the production sector and the agrarian complex, social support of the population.
Annoyed by the rapid growth in popularity, Premier Yeltsin already half a year later sent Primakov to resign. At the same time, it became clear that a return to the former, completely discredited liberal course is impossible, and the new policy must be implemented by other people. On the eve of a new, 1999, Yeltsin announced his resignation. He explained that he was leaving “not for health reasons, but for all the problems”, and asked for forgiveness from the citizens of Russia. And although he didn’t mention the October 93 in October, everyone understood that what we are talking about was the execution of the White House. The acting president was appointed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Does this mean that events like the tragedy of 1993’s “Black October” have sunk into oblivion? Or do the above notes refer to the genre of memories of the future?