Gorbachev Attempted Coup Term Paper

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Gorbachev Attempted Coup

The collapse of the Soviet Union, a huge state which used to unite more than 300 million citizens of hundred nationalities, was the most important event of the end of 20th century. In 1985 when Mikhail Gorbachev was elected a head of the state and proclaimed himself a President he planned to democratize and modernize Soviet state which could no longer live without radical and effective reforms. Gorbachev proclaimed politics of -- Perestroika -- (reconstruction) which meant involving elements of capitalism in Soviet national economics, giving citizens an opportunity to live in democratic and prosperous society. First Soviet President noticed that the aim of his politics was to create -- Socialism with human's face -- which had to realize all interests of common people and create equal opportunities for every Soviet citizen. Gorbachev finished the Cold War as he saw its results both in the U.S.S.R. And in the U.S.A. And called the U.S. To cooperate in the process of demilitarization. That was a great progress. United States and Soviet Union were no longer enemies, they were -- partners -- as Gorbachev announced. That was an achievement: Capitalist and Communist worlds could cooperate but not resist as it had been for years before. Soviet people and the rest of the world liked this politician and expected great changes and successful results of his activities. After 3 old rulers (Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Constantine Chernenko) Gorbachev was found a politician of absolutely different and new way of thinking; his behavior, attitude to people attracted many people and they believed their leader and were sure that he was that person who will lead them to a new better life.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Gorbachev Attempted Coup Assignment

But as every leader, he had mistakes and some of them were very tragic and fatal to the country. Gorbachev's personality is one of the main factors which influenced Union's collapse and death of thousands of Soviet citizens in bloody civil wars in multinational republics. As we can see it now that person with agricultural education could not be a head of such super-state as Soviet Union was; his decisions were unconsidered and sentenced millions of Soviets to poverty, many of them died because of war conflicts and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with more than 70-year history was crossed out of political map of the world. The new era of human history began.

Gorbachev's politics certainly had many enemies. Events which took place in August 1991 proved that, when a group of politicians tried to overthrow Gorbachev's Presidency. Now I will try to find out the main reasons and results of the August coup and its influence on the state, especially on the separated from the U.S.S.R. Of 3 Baltic states: Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

Oleg Poptsov (head of Russian channel RTR in 1991) explained Gorbachev's personality with these words: -- He had a unique feature - he had always been afraid of any responsibility -- (Times, August 20, 2001 p.4). Soviet President wanted to realize his program formed in 1985 but as soon as he understood that he managed to do nothing he tried to avoid any responsibility. His encirclement did the same. -- Perestroika -- was not successful and very soon common people found Gorbachev unable to change the situation in the country. First of all they were disappointed by increasing number of poor people; majority of population couldn't find food in the shops and that horrified citizens. Soviets saw that thousands of people were dying in absurd but extremely cruel national conflicts in Caucasus region but government did practically nothing to protect them. -- Gorbachev was afraid of active interference of Soviet Army in the conflict and tried his best to stop the war without troops but it was already impossible. Separatists found the state power weak... -- (After the Fall: 1989 and the Future of Freedom George N. Katsiaficas p.76).

But there were some other reasons for displeasure. Communists were frightened by the fact that 6th article of Soviet Constitution which included information that the only ruling political party in the country was Communist Party of Soviet Union was changed. After changing the Constitution political pluralism was proclaimed and Communists lost all chances to stay in the parliament. Such change turned many former Gorbachev's followers in his enemies and they started planning a takeover. Here are the memories of the main conspirators who were the leaders of the unsuccessful coup (their words can explain their plans and methods of capturing the political power in the Soviet Union):

Minister of Defense of USSR D. Yazov: -- Very serious reasons had to exist to let me turn Soviet Armed Forces against the President... I am not satisfied by the fact that our nation is getting poorer with every passing day; national economics is ruined, national conflicts killed and go on killing thousands of innocent people. Sure, we could not wait. Our party members had discussed this problem and we made a conclusion that Gorbachev was unable to rule the country and he had to leave Kremlin. All his economical activities meant asking for credits and doing nothing to develop industry and support science... August 20th a new Union agreement had to be signed: I and my comrades could not submit the fact that united country had to be legally separated in several -- independent -- states. We didn't have any right to let him destroy our country..."

The head of KGB Kruchkov: "After Gorbachev had left for resort we found country paralyzed. For example nobody thought about collecting the harvest and it was spoiled on the fields. Fast and effective decisions were necessary; if not - the country would simply die... These were strict measures but they were the only correct actions in that situation: we didn't see any other way out. We wanted to employ our workers, not to close enterprises and let people have everything they needed to live normal life" (Henchman, Charles Agony of USSR p. 139).

So, we can see that there were real and true reasons of August coup. It didn't matter who those conspirators were: whether Communists of Democrats because they wanted normalize the situation and improve life of Soviet citizens who suffered a lot from economical crisis. Conspirators hoped that their action would be approved by the nation and they'd have strong support though being illegal power. In this case they thought they would be national heroes who saved the order and law in the state.

Here are the main reasons of the coup:

Nationalization of state enterprises, especially capturing oil plants in Tatarstan initiated by local nationalists." (Henchman, Charles Agony of USSR p. 143).

Supposed creation of national currency in some republics

Nationalization of gold industry in Kazakhstan and Yakutia.

50% of military industrial orders were shortened which caused crisis in military industry. Also stupid demilitarization of some enterprises caused serious social problems and many qualified workers became jobless.

President Yeltsin's (President of Russian Federation) order which prohibited Communists' participation in ruling economics and social life.

Terminating of regional KGB departments which got under local power.

Forming illegal armed troops in some republics... Capturing property of Soviet Army... -- . (Henchman, Charles Agony of USSR p. 145).

The occasion was supposed signing of a new union agreement and "this can be proved by conspirators' documents where they wrote about extremists who were going to separate and destroy Soviet Union" (Muravchik, Joshua Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism). Conspirators called the nation to resist separatism and decide what new union agreement should be. Russian leader Boris Yeltsin who was Gorbachev's first enemy was expected to stand for conspirators' interests, but that was a great mistake. He decided to resist conspirators but not to protect Gorbachev but improve own position and increase own popularity and authority. The situation was very strange: two main powers in the country insisted on own true position and appealed to the Constitution and laws. It reminded Russians the time of February revolution in 1917. President Yeltsin, Prime Minister Silaev and head of Russian Federation parliament Hasbulatov found conspirators' action as Communist reaction and illegally capturing power belonging to the legally elected President - Mikhail Gorbachev. Coup leaders realized that their positions are getting weaker and decided to act. August 19th they tried to takeover.

On the eve of the signing ceremony for a new union treaty for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, members of the Politburo and the heads of the Soviet military and security services detained Gorbachev at his villa in the Crimea. Claiming that Gorbachev had been removed from his position as president due to illness, the leaders of the coup formed an eight-man Committee of the State of Emergency and attempted to assume control of the government" (August Coup (Soviet History) Article available on web: (http://reference.allrefer.com/encyclopedia/a/AugustCo.html).

Yeltsin used the situation to eliminate political power of Communist Party and that's why he as it can seem protected Gorbachev. But this is not true: Yeltsin didn't care of Gorbachev… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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