When revolutions end, it is usually found that the goals proclaimed by the revolution are not only not achieved, but, on the contrary, the results directly contradict them. If the goal was freedom, then as a result we have a dictatorship, if justice - then blatant inequality is established, if prosperity - then poverty comes. And then yesterday's victorious revolutionaries sit down at their memoirs to prove: it is not their fault, it is a result of either intrigues of the enemy, in the broadest sense of the word, intrigues, or irresponsibility (backwardness) of the people who did not reach the great revolutionary goals or did not understand these goals and not appreciating the works of revolutionaries. Or, finally, the "wrong" stories, which predetermined the "wrong" course of the revolution. To be fair, we must admit that the losers - the counterrevolutionaries - behave in the same way: they sit down to write memoirs about why they lost. And it turns out that the reasons for losing them are the same: intrigues, enemies, people. The book we are talking about, the Gaidar Revolution, composed of interviews with leading members of the Gaidar team, Gaidar himself and some other leading 1990 policies, a classic example of such literature. A typical quote from Peter Aven: “Much of what we have today is not the result of our economic reforms, but much longer historical processes.” As if the authors of the reforms should not take these processes into account in their reforms.
The compilers of the book, Peter Aven and Alfred Koch, with their questions, comments, and the very name of the book, to which they actually assigned the title of chief revolutionary to their leader, only confirm this. A lover of memoir literature, taking the memories of, say, Milyukov, Kerensky or Trotsky, will be surprised at the generality of tone and the digging in the trifles of a past epoch that brings them closer. It is enough that a significant part of the book is devoted to settling accounts with the Supreme Soviet, as if it still has some meaning. Although we recognize that historical trifles reflect the colors of the era, and in this sense they are interesting. But of course, the book also touches upon the fundamental issues of that period, which remain fundamental to the present day. On them and dwell.
To begin, pay attention to the title of the book. The events of the end of 1980-x - the beginning of 1990-x really were a revolution, if we understand it as a change of political regime and socio-economic system. Marx also noted that almost all revolutionaries turn to the experience of previous revolutions. Those Bolsheviks constantly appealed to the images of the Great French Revolution. But Gaidar and his associates often turned to the images of the 1917 revolution of the year and to the history of revolutions in general. Gaidar called one of his books "State and Evolution" - the sample is clear; Chubais advertised his reform of RAO UES as a new GOELRO plan, and the closest employee of Gaidar, Vladimir Mau, named one of his books, The Great Revolutions from Cromwell to Putin.
If we recognize the existence of parallels between events of different eras, consider them to be an important explanatory or at least illustrative factor and recall the chronology of the 1980 – 1990 revolution, then it should be recognized that the revolution began under Gorbachev. Gorbachev's perestroika is a prolonged “February”, in terms of the revolution of the beginning of the last century, and the collapse of the USSR and the new revolutionary outburst of 1991 of the year - “October. When did the Gaidar revolution come? This is certainly the 1993 year and the subsequent economic reforms, primarily privatization, although Gaidar himself was at this time, it would seem, not at the pinnacle of power. But it was the triumph of his ideas. And of course, these were the years of the new “great turning point”, which became the “Gaidar revolution”. Years when, like after the completion of that “great breakthrough”, the new system won completely and completely.
The fact that 1993 was the year of the “great turning point” not only in politics and economics, but also in the mood of citizens, indirectly confirms the interview of Anatoly Chubais, in which he admits that in this and the next two years there have been two major “breaks” in the public moods. The first is when the “demand for democracy” disappeared in Russia after the execution of the parliament in October 1993, that is, the vector of revolution has changed. And then Chubais and the drafters-interviewers begin to argue why this happened, and it does not occur to them that it was the shooting that brought down this “demand”: it became clear that the ruling group of politicians in the country would not allow real democracy. By the way, the turning point after the shooting of the Armed Forces, as noted by several interviewers, occurred with Yeltsin, who became "more evil and vindictive."
The second “turning point”, as all three admit, occurred when mortgage auctions and voucher privatization “broke the Soviet notion of justice” that lived among the people. And Chubais, with his inherent cynicism, sums up the discussion: "It was unsustainable." Although it is clear that the word "Soviet" is inserted here for self-justification, because in reality justice itself was trampled upon. But Koch notes that this was a “payment for market reforms,” which, in the light of all their reasoning, look like a Moloch, to which democracy and justice can be sacrificed. The authors of the American Declaration of Independence and the French Declaration of the Rights and Freedoms of a Citizen, these icons for any liberal, would probably have turned over in their graves when they learned that under the banner of liberalism their ideals are being sacrificed, and, as is now clear, not even impersonal reforms, but future oligarchs. Let me remind readers of the words of the French Declaration: “Freedom is the inherent human ability to do everything that does not harm the rights of another; its basis is nature, and its rule is justice. " After all this reasoning, Chubais, Aven and Koch are embarrassed for the author of the preface Leszek Balcerowicz, who writes that the Gaidar team represented the bright side of history, defenders of basic human rights. But the mortgage auctions, apart from the fact that they were extremely unfair, can be called the biggest corruption a deal of the century. Corruption, as is well known, is a term that usually means an official using his authority and rights entrusted to him, as well as related official status of authority, opportunities, connections for personal gain, contrary to law and moral standards. What we have when, in our case, a group of oligarchs, in exchange for the services and funds provided by them to the candidate during the elections, received at their disposal from the highest official, virtually free of charge, the most important national wealth. In fairness, we note: in his interview, Gaidar said that he was categorically against mortgage auctions, although he later acknowledged the correctness of this decision. But this does not change the situation.
The reforms were also sacrificed to Moloch, as we now understand, a significant part of the economy itself, for which these reforms seemed to be carried out, as the compilers themselves admit in the last material of the book - their conversation with Elmar Murtazaev, the deputy editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine. As Koch says, “we have shown that a huge Stalinist industry, of which we have been proud for many years, doesn’t need anyone at 90% ...” As if the industry is Stalinist or Thatcher's. Industry is industry. Koch does not name plants that, in his opinion, are not needed by anyone. But we can recall one of the members of the Gaidar team (after the prescription of years we will not call his name), who at the beginning of 1990's, like Caton, used to constantly say that Rostselmash should be destroyed, because it makes horrible combines. Not only was it not true - those combine harvesters are still working on Russian fields - the new owners were able to successfully reconstruct the Stalin plant and start producing new-generation combines of a completely world-class level. And in fact, first of all, enterprises of high-tech industries were destroyed, because they are most sensitive to government shocks. We dwelt on this statement in such detail because it speaks of the “depth” of the reformers' understanding of both their reforms and their consequences. As they say, they understood nothing and learned nothing.
Of course, the compilers of the collection could not circumvent the dispersal of the Supreme Council and the reasons for it. Perhaps Koch’s reasoning is key: “Gaidar didn’t fight enough to be supported by the majority of deputies and officials,” because he couldn’t “intrigue, deceive, bribe, betray, establish relations with the latest scoundrels and scum”. And since most of the sun was against the reformers, then there was nothing left to disperse. Although, by the way, Gaidar, being a high-ranking Soviet official, quite got along with the Soviet bureaucracy and was able to establish relations with him. And this did not interfere with his principles.
I do not venture to judge the personal qualities of Gaidar and his attitude towards deputies. However, in any case, the above quotation speaks eloquently about the attitude of Koch and Aven to their opponents, the attitude that was characteristic of the whole Gaidar team: we are the last resort of truth, and our opponents are bastards and scum, to reckon with their opinion is a betrayal our ideals or our interests, and they can only be dispersed, so as not to interfere under our feet. It is clear that the dissolution of the Supreme Council in this respect was predetermined.
Of course, from the opposite side there were also many such “carriers of truth”, but there were also many quite worthy and sensible people, who, naturally, considered themselves not “bastards and scum”, but deputies elected by the people. So they were, so at least they had to be respected and reckoned with. But the “democrats” reformers could not accept this.
This can be called arrogance, you can - megalomania, but it also breaks through in the arguments of the co-authors and compilers of the book about the democratic public (they ironically call it demonship), which enthusiastically supported Gaidar himself and his team and relying on them could carry out reforms and win in the confrontation with the Supreme Council. It was to her that Gaidar appealed when he appealed from television screens to come to the Moscow Council to defend democracy. Where Gaidar, as described in the book, was ready to distribute to the audience weapon. And Koh and Aven are sympathetic to this. That is, to put the country on the brink of civil war, to give citizens the opportunity to die for the "leaders of the revolution", and then through the lip: "Demshiz" ...
Indeed, some democratic activists could have made such an impression, but not you, gentlemen, talk about it. If you have done something that you consider important, it is largely due to the enthusiasm of these people who supported you, regardless of poverty, which many of them thanks to reforms have plunged into. Amazing cynicism. And there and then a grudge against the fact that “Yeltsin was very cynical and prudent towards all” ...
Yegor Timurovich left us, not having finished speaking and not explaining much, and I don't want to disturb his memory, but the authors of the book force him to do it. After all these revelations of Koch and Aven, one feels awkwardly reading the discussion of the topic “morality and efficiency in politics” in an interview with Gaidar, which he gave two years before his death.
The compilers in their questions and the history of the collapse of the Soviet Union could not get around, especially since one of those interviewed was Gennady Burbulis, who participated in the meeting in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, at which the three leaders of the Slavic republics decided the fate of the USSR. And then it turned out several important details that turned out to be news and for Aven with Koch, yes, it seems, and for many readers of the book.
The main news is that Burbulis admits: from the very beginning of the Novoogarevsk process, somewhere in November, and maybe even in May 1990, that is, from Yeltsin’s election as chairman of the Supreme Council, his entourage worked out the idea of liquidating the union center. And although the coup was a surprise for them in a certain sense, it turned out to be a welcome surprise, because it made it easier to solve the problem.
Another news is a message from US Secretary of State James Baker about his call to Gorbachev: he called to warn about the impending putsch just on the eve of this event. Gorbachev did not respond to the call in a strange way, which makes his position ambiguous. Of course, the efforts of the Yeltsin team were not the only reason for the collapse of the country. One of the reasons is Gorbachev’s inability to make responsible decisions. Stanislav Anisimov, the former Minister of Material Resources of the USSR, recalls the tragicomic scene at the Gorbachev meeting on August 3 1991 of the year, that is, on the eve of the coup, when First Deputy Prime Minister of the USSR, Minister of Economics and Forecasting Vladimir Scherbakov literally screamed at Gorbachev: “Mikhail Sergeevich! Take at least some decision in the end! ”
However, Gorbachev’s weakness does not justify Yeltsin’s team, all the more so, as Koch says, according to Viktor Chernomyrdin, Yeltsin himself once said: if he were at the head of the Union, he wouldn’t let him fall apart. It means that both he and his team members understood that the struggle against Gorbachev is not for the sake of some ideals and principles, but for the sake of personal power.
The scene of fraternization described by Pavel Grachev, which Yeltsin arranged after the coup, invited Grachev, Alexander Korzhakov, Andrei Kozyrev, Viktor Barannikov, Yuri Skokov and invited them to swear on the blood: "They took the knife, cut each other's hands, licked the blood" - gives the character of the grotesque. What can I say. Such people decided the fate of Russia and the world.
Aven Peter, Koh Alfred. Gaidar revolution. - M .: Alpina Publisher, 2013. - 439 with.