State Security Forces Special Forces were ordered to take the White House by storm. The commanders of "Alpha" and "Vympel" refused to fulfill the order of President Boris Yeltsin
Living in the Soviet Union, we perceived the concept of “civil war” in the abstract. Read in the books, seen in the movies. Naturally, in the form in which it was presented by a particular writer or director, as was played by the actors. But to see firsthand, look into her eyes - this was not necessary.
The events of the Moscow “hot autumn” 1993 of the year made it possible, albeit to a small extent, to understand how a civil war is a disaster for the country and the people. Cruel and bloody strife. Road to nowhere".
In all honesty, I can say it out of spirit: the decision made by the senior officers of Group A of 4 of October 1993 of the year was the only right decision in that extremely difficult, dramatic situation. We literally walked along the razor's edge.
Fulfill the "Alpha" and "Pennant" order of Boris Yeltsin, and we would not only get the charred White House, which worked Tanks direct fire, but also hundreds of dead, including members of parliament and leading Russian politicians. The consequences for our country would be fatal and unpredictable.
In destiny, probably, everyone is a fork in the road, when, under the pressure of circumstances, it is necessary to make the main, fundamental choice, perhaps, of his whole life. Years, and it happens, and decades can be lived without revealing its deep essence, - and only at the moments of critical testing it becomes suddenly very clear what a person really is. A person, team or country.
In that plague-like October on the streets of Moscow, some Russian citizens killed others. Let me remind you that back in August, President Yeltsin threatened to arrange for the opposition a “hot autumn” - and it really stood out that way. As promised. Later, fierce clashes with demonstrators and armed clashes would be called "local civil war." Beautiful "book" definition, true in its essence.
So the historian writes, so the political scientist will say. But those who happened to be direct participants in these events will always remember the high human price paid by the country for the unwillingness of “real” politicians to solve the matter with the world.
The order of the president, I want to emphasize this, was executed, but in my own way. They wanted blood from the opposition from us, but we did not become punitive. There were, however, dissatisfied and among the defenders of the House of Soviets, who said: “The Alpha did not have the courage to take the side of the people. Thank you also for the fact that they did not become his executioners ... ”This, of course, is an extreme point of view.
There was no unity in Russian society itself, which had survived the collapse of the Union, and then the shock therapy of Yegor Gaidar and his liberal team: some tore at B. N. Yeltsin’s throat, others defended Vice-President A.Rutsky.
About 1700 people, 10 tanks and 20 armored personnel carriers took part in the assault: the crews had to be recruited from five divisions, about half of the entire contingent were officers or junior commanding personnel
And the people? Our people at this time adhered to the eternal principle of everyday life: my hut on the edge. I don’t want to condemn or justify anyone ... Perhaps, it was such a waiting, in fact, position that saved us from a full-scale civil war and the collapse of the country into “red” and “white” regions.
Then two forces clashed in mortal combat, each of which claimed to determine the state development vector in its own way. As usual, ordinary citizens suffered at the same time, who were not claiming anything, but by the will of fate or fulfilling a duty of duty, who were on opposite sides of the barricades.
And still, twenty years later, various numbers of victims are called: from 150 people to almost three thousand, but in any case, we are talking about our compatriots who have become hostages of irresponsible and criminal actions of politicians. Eternal memory to the dead.
NIGHT CALL TO YELTSIN
The mood of the Ministry of Security personnel was such that the officers did not want to participate in the operation against supporters of the Russian parliament. So it was not long to wait for a call on this matter. 4 hours 30 minutes received an order - the commanders of the "Alpha" and "Vympel" (up to the heads of departments, inclusive) urgently come to the president.
About how the events unfolded in Yeltsin’s inner circle, and what, strictly speaking, this urgent challenge was caused, I learned a year later from the book “President’s Notes”.
“About five in the morning,” Yeltsin recalled, “the chiefs of the Main Security Directorate, Mikhail Barsukov, and his first deputy, the security chief of the president, Alexander Korzhakov, came to me and asked me to meet with the officers of the Alpha and Vympel special groups. From their tone, I realized that something was wrong. But he didn’t clarify anything, he immediately said: I don’t have time to meet with them, they have a specific task, let them do it. Barsukov nodded. They went out. It took about half an hour, and Mikhail Ivanovich again asked permission to come to me. When he entered the office, he said: “Boris Nikolayevich, I beg of you, I must meet with them, let's not with the whole group, but at least with the commanders of the units, senior officers. Worried guys, still such a task. After all, they are being sent to the White House for the second time ... ”
In August 1991, the organizers of the Emergency Committee were afraid to shed blood. In October, 1993, Boris Yeltsin and his colleagues decided on extreme measures
The Kremlin looked like a ruined anthill. As always in such cases, it was not without overlays: when we went to the First Corps, we were met by the heads of departments and their deputies from the Kremlin guards, who were pulled off their seats and demanded that Yeltsin.
- We were raised in vain. You have to go there, ”said one of the returning officers.
Early in the morning of October 4 we were taken to the meeting room: an oval table (no one was sitting behind it), rows of chairs along the walls on which the commanders of the security forces settled down, all in all thirty people. People were on edge, exhausted by a long, meaningless wait. Nobody talked to each other, limited to monosyllabic replicas.
I sat down on the edge and prepared to wait. A few minutes passed. Barsukov and Korzhakov proceeded through the hall to the president’s reception. On the move Barsukov threw the commander of "Vympel":
- Dmitry, you will report to the president.
It took another ten minutes. The silence was thickened. Finally, on the threshold of the reception appeared president. It was a different person than the one who came to the Group A field base in the summer of 1992. Tired, gray. Terse. It was felt that he is closed and wary.
After all, it was not only the fate of the state that was decided, but also its fate.
- Comrade president! The officers of “Vympel” and “Alpha” were assembled at your orders, ”said Gerasimov clearly.
Yeltsin sat at the table. He spoke very briefly.
"Terminators" in the "space" areas were not soulless robots, ready to execute any order
- The country has developed a difficult, tense situation. With this you have to stop. In the White House sat a gang, which intends to commit a coup d'etat. It is necessary to free the White House. We must free him from these people. I decided to clean the White House by force. Your units should take part in this. Will you follow the order of the president?
The answer was, as he recalls, "silence, eerie, inexplicable silence of an elite Presidential military unit."
Yeltsin made a minute pause and asked the question differently, with pressure:
- Good. Then I will ask you differently: do you refuse to execute the order of the president?
In response, silence again ...
As I noted at the beginning, we often have to make choices in life. Ultimately, life is the constant (admittedly, not always explicit) choice between Good and Evil, conscience and meanness. I am not a politician, and never wanted to be. The order for me, however, as for any military man who gave the oath, has the force of law. He is not discussed, it is carried out. But to kill people, deputies and simple compatriots - if we reject all the verbal husk, then this was exactly what was commissioned to do, - the Alpha and Vympel officers could not do that. If we were talking about a “simple” operation to neutralize terrorists, then we would not have raised any questions, no objections. Here it was quite another matter.
Later, Yeltsin recalled: “I looked around at all of them - huge, strong, beautiful. Without saying goodbye, I went to the door, telling Barsukov and Zaitsev, the commander of the Alpha, that the order should be executed. ”
“A GROUP DOES NOT WANT TO GO ON A STORM”
In the once sensational book of A. V. Korzhakov “Boris Yeltsin: from dawn to dusk” the position of “Alpha” and “Vympel” is presented in a deliberately biased form. Some facts are perverted or turned inside out. This, for example, is reported in the book of the former head of the Presidential Security Service.
"A little light rang the alarmed Barsukov:
- Listen, Sanya, the commanders from Alpha came to me. They say that the Group does not want to go on the assault. The officers are confused, some believe that everything that happens is unconstitutional. They need the opinion of the Constitutional Court to execute the order (...)
Barsukov and I decided to assemble the commanders of the Alpha divisions in the Security Council Chamber - let the President talk to them personally.
Soldiers-conscripts opposite the barricades, built on the approaches to the White House by its defenders
I had to wake up Boris Nikolayevich. I asked him to shave and look fresher - after all, the night was hard. Having instructed the adjutant to conduct the President to the hall, he came there in advance.
About forty officers gathered. I have met many of them before. Always so smiling, welcoming, now these muscular guys looked at me frowningly, gloomily and wary. I knew that “Alfists” were overwhelmed with doubts, but everyone was afraid to express them aloud.
Soon the president came to the hall. The commander of the "Alpha" commanded:
- Comrades officers!
Yeltsin looked around with an inquisitive gaze:
- Comrades officers, please sit down.
Barsukov warned Yeltsin in advance about the mood of the group. Boris Nikolayevich made a brief speech. But before this stern voice asked the commanders:
- Will you follow the order of the President?
In response, a frightening silence.
The essence of Yeltsin’s three-minute speech was as follows:
- You must fulfill the order. And do not torment yourself with doubts. No reprisals are not subjected.
Having uttered a short monologue, the President withdrew. His mood deteriorated (...)
Then, rewarding participants in the 1993 events of the year, Yeltsin did not mention General Barsukov in any way — he believed that Alpha was the one who led uncertainly because of poor leadership. Although no fault of Mikhail Ivanovich in this was not. The special unit was subordinate to him for several months, and Barsukov did not manage to completely change the psychological climate among the officers (...)
The harsh tone of the President’s speech did not add enthusiasm to the officers. They did not burn with confidence in Boris Nikolayevich and sat with stone faces (...)
Zaitsev grieved me greatly in this situation ... "
What was “a bad psychological climate” for Mr. Korzhakov was the essence of the unit, its moral orientation, which did not allow the officers of Group “A” to turn into executioners of their people.
By the way, to be precise until the end, in the end, Alpha was not dissolved thanks to General Barsukov. No one anywhere wrote about this, but it was he who opposed the disbandment of the unit and, when at some point his arguments were not accepted by Yeltsin, he even wrote a report about his resignation.
ALPHA OFFERS TALKS
Near the House of Soviets, General Barsukov gave me the command to build the personnel of only Group “A”. I built employees in a car. It happened on Konyushkovskaya street. Mikhail Ivanovich spoke to us, and said what I expected from him to hear:
“Now we need to help the president, we need to help him solve this problem,” he urged assertively.
The guys were silent, the system was not moving.
“I ask everyone to make sense of my words,” said Mikhail Ivanovich. “Either you enter the White House and carry out the order, or I will have to sign an order to disband and disarm the unit.”
I, however, thought: “Who will disarm the unit now?”
Barsukov said that now three armored personnel carriers would fit.
- Get ready, who is ready to go to them for a reconnaissance to the White House.
Volunteers were found on all three combat vehicles. Come forward. And before that, Colonel V. V. Rakitin, the head of the headquarters of the division named after F. Dzerzhinsky, approached me, we knew each other, and relayed the radio station:
- Gennady Nikolaevich, she is tuned to the wave of the headquarters of the entire operation.
He called my callsign - "128", as well as the board numbers of the BMP.
In one BMP drove Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Keleksaev. With a group of employees, he came in from the central entrance of the White House, from the Ukraine Hotel, and carried out his task. And the second BMP - Igor Finogenov, Yuri Torshin and Gennady Sergeyev went into the rear of the White House and began to inspect the position. Around the distance somewhere 50-100 meters everything was blocked by internal troops and soldiers of the Ministry of Defense.
Employees of state security special forces are moving to the White House. October 4 1993 of the year
After a while, Gennady Sergeev was shot dead by a sniper. Later, the pathologist who performed the autopsy was surprised how one could live with such a severe wound for seven minutes. Whether it was a aimed shot or a fatal ricochet, it remained unknown.
There is a version that our unit wanted to provoke in an assault with all the ensuing consequences, but the Alpha officers did not break down, did not get away with emotions. I am deeply convinced that the shot was made not from the House of Soviets, the sniper was outside its walls.
... Talking about the last hours of the Supreme Council, I will cite the testimony of our employee Sergei Kuzmin, as he remembered those events:
- On the eve of the dramatic events in Moscow, I and several of my comrades were singled out the guidelines for work on organized crime. Senior - Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Ilyich Keleksaev. Considering the complexity of the situation, knowing well what our comrades would have, we left on our own initiative with the unit to the White House.
Among other volunteers left on orders to the parliament building for a reconnaissance. I remember that later, when we reached the ramp in front of the White House, there was a Vympel employee among us. “Do not come, get out of here,” some people shouted from the windows.
Representatives of Group "A" tried to negotiate with the leaders of the Supreme Council on the peaceful surrender, promising security to the defenders - they fulfilled their promise!
We went together to the entrance, Keleksaev and me. They made an improvised white flag ... At the entrance was a police sergeant Sorokin. Explained to him who we are and where we are from. Through the megaphone, he addressed the defenders: “Alpha Group is coming!” ”And suggested that someone come out to meet us.
The first to appear was Albert Makashov in his famous beret. Cossacks from Transnistria gathered in the foyer of the first floor. They behaved, I must say, boldly and defiantly. We appealed to the general to call his subordinates to order. To which he replied that this liberty did not obey him. "This is the Makhnovists," explained Makashov, leaning toward us.
At that moment, the storming of the White House resumed from the side of the Krasnopresnenskaya metro station. We were asked to do everything to stop him. Along the corridors of the building I went to the side from which the most intense shooting was carried out in order to clarify the situation. But to understand what was happening was difficult. However, when the Makhnovists returned, the assault made an impression - they calmed down.
Makashov took us to the meeting room of the Council of Nationalities, where the deputies and other different people were. Introduced themselves: we are employees of the Alpha Special Forces. They voiced the task set before us - to take the White House. They said that they are authorized to negotiate the withdrawal of people from the building under our guarantees.
After that, we were escorted to the third floor, where Rutskoi and Khasbulatov were in one of the rooms. There were men in black uniform. By the way they behaved, it was clear: they are real professionals in military affairs.
Alexander Rutskoi and Ruslan Khasbulatov demanded that the ambassadors of the Western countries ensure their security, but around 18.00 they were arrested and taken to Lefortovo
Entered the office, greeted Rutsky. A bit later Khasbulatov approached, he practically did not participate in the conversation. We again called ourselves, explained the task assigned to the division. Rutskoi did not agree with our arguments. He said that some military units loyal to him were coming here ... And in the end he asked if we could provide him and Khasbulatov with a trip to the US embassy. To this we replied that we could not take an independent decision on this issue - we need to report to the commander.
On this and parted. When they descended to the first floor, the special forces officers had already taken the deputies out of the building. I joined the guys and took part in the “cleansing” of the building, and Vladimir Ilyich went to a report to our leadership, ”concludes S. L. Kuzmin.
THINKING ANY OTHER IS NOT AN ENEMY!
It still seems to me that the political solution to the crisis of the fall of 1993 of the year has not been fully utilized. It was not, I emphasize. This includes the initiative of His Holiness Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, who acted as a mediator on behalf of the Church. Perhaps it was here that there was a “fork in the road”, and these negotiations under the auspices of the ROC turned out to be a “missed opportunity” - a way out which the politicians did not take advantage of.
By the way, after all, the Patriarch officially made a statement at the time that the first one to shed blood would be anathema. And who was the "first"? Come - figure it out! I was to blame, I emphasize, both parties to the conflict: some more, others less. And dozens of ordinary people laid their lives who came to parliament to defend their sense of civic dignity. How many young lives have been ruined, how many destinies have been mutilated ...
Within the walls of the Holy Danilov Monastery were difficult, difficult negotiations. And where, I ask, was the president of the country at this time? In the Kremlin ... Why don’t Boris Nikolayevich join the negotiation process? After all, the fate of hundreds of people - our fellow citizens. To be or not to be, to live or not to live. And God knows how it turned. Maybe a breakdown of the negotiations. Irrevocable, final failure. But then the head of state would have the full moral right to declare: "I did everything I could."
4 October 1993 Group A officer Sergei Ilyich Fyodorov and his comrades withdrew nearly four hundred people from the House of Soviets from the Brokeback Bridge.
People were afraid that they would open fire. And then Fedorov left the entrance and removed the armored sphere from his head:
“If someone is to be shot, it’s me, not you, unarmed.”
It seems to me that Sergei Ilyich answered what kind of inner spiritual core allowed the Group “A” to pass along the razor's edge and not fall into the bloody orgy.
In a long-standing interview with our newspaper “Special Forces of Russia”, S. I. Fedorov said: “Then in the Group, men got up — you would break the shaft of your character. Self-esteem, professionalism, courage - with an understanding of who they are and what they are. We were allowed a lot, we had extensive information. When we carried out the combat mission, the police and the army stood in the cordon. We often worked with the top officials of the state - could we have been able to make average demands on us, even to give some kind of slack?
In general, I believe that the operation in the White House is one of the most difficult after the storming of the palace of Amin, Beslan, Nord-Ost, Budyonnovsk and Pervomaisky. She showed the world that special forces were not cutthroats who were ready to carry out any order of any government. And the death of Gena Sergeeva was a high price for the fact that many and many did not die then. After all, we could take the White House by storm. That's just human blood - not water ... "
In the most difficult situation, when, it seemed, there was no choice, the employees of Group “A” were able to save people (remember, this is its main purpose, for this purpose, it was created by Yu. V. Andropov) and save its face. Some politicians didn’t like that this face was human.
Snipers from a skyscraper opened fire on the defenders of the Supreme Council, the military and Muscovites who were nearby, who came to watch the war
An exceptionally positive role in resolving the crisis of October 4 was played by the senior officers of Group A, Alexander Ivanovich Miroshnichenko, my deputy, now he is a colonel general; Vladimir Ilyich Keleksaev, Mikhail Petrovich Maximov, Anatoly Ivanovich Grechishnikov, Yuri Viktorovich Demin, Vitaly Nikolaevich Demidkin and Igor Feliksovich Finogenov.
In 1994, Attorney General Alexey Kazannik, who made the decision to amnesty the leaders and active participants in the defense of the House of Soviets, explained on the pages of the Delovoy Mir newspaper: “Having interrogated a thousand servicemen, we received the following evidence: no peace talks between 3 and October 4 was not conducted - the order was given to storm immediately ... In the pause between the happened 3 and what happened on October 4, no one warned the people who remained in the White House about the beginning of the shelling and the ma, that is, evidence of conducting any negotiations there. Consequently, the events of October 4 must be qualified as a crime committed on the basis of revenge, in a manner dangerous to the life of many, out of base motives. ”
After the defeat of parliament, “a small victorious war” in the North Caucasus seemed to Yeltsin and his entourage an easy decision, the best way to raise a fallen rating. So from October Moscow 1993-th tanks entered Grozny on New Year's Eve 31 December 1994-th. It was from that “hot autumn” that we began to live in a belligerent country.
If we talk about the fundamental consequences of the execution of the House of Soviets, the system of government has changed significantly. Russia became a presidential republic, in which the role of parliament was devalued. In addition, the forces that opposed the so-called “shock therapy” were defeated - accelerated “reforms”, which subsequently led to a collapse in the standard of living of the population, an economic crisis, the surrender of a number of geopolitical positions and many other negative consequences that are still felt.
In a recent television shoot in the summer of 1994, historian Mikhail Gefter, in conversation with a critic Lev Annensky, said: “Keep up with the Alpha Group. To people who saw October as a double insignia: they, like no one, wore the knowledge of death, they refused to obey the order to kill. “Follow the Alpha Group!” - it summarizes and does historical the experience of those who, by choice of action, with their officer refusal to kill, opened the door to the central problem of Russian consciousness, closed by wisdom and politicking: thinking otherwise is not an enemy to be destroyed, he is a fellow citizen and a brother. ”
With these words, I want to complete the story about the events of October 1993.
Zaitsev Gennady Nikolaevich, Group A Commander in 1977-1988 and 1992-1995. Hero of the Soviet Union, retired Major General. President of the Security Agency "Alpha-95".
He was awarded the Order for Services to the Fatherland, IV degree, Lenin, the Red Banner, the Red Banner of Labor, the Red Star (twice), and many medals. Honorary State Security Officer.
In 2006-2008, he is a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation. Winner of the International Prize of Andrew the First-Called "For Faith and Loyalty", the literary prize "Russia Loyal Sons" named after Alexander Nevsky, the Stroganov Prize. The author of the book “Alpha” is my destiny. ”
Freeman Chusovskogo area.