The defeat of the attempt to overthrow the Russian government in 1991 was one of the key events that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union later that year.
It was also to lead to the national atonement for the terrible massacre of the Imperial Family which had been followed by that dark and evil regime which had lasted for much of the twentieth century.
Boris Yeltsin proved to be a key and effective opponent of the hardliners, and the proponent and leader of the national act of repentance and reconciliation.
It has been 20 years since Communist hardliners attempted to derail reforms put in place by Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet president, in a failed coup.
The following report by Barnaby Phillips was broadcast on 18 August 2011 by the international TV news service Al Jazeera.
Subsequently, on 17 July, 1998, Boris Yeltsin, as President of Russia – with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church – allowed the remains of the last Tsar, Nicholas II, the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna and their young daughters, the Grand Duchesses, to be buried in the great Fortress of St. Peter and St. Paul in the city of St. Petersburg.
…atonement for monstrous crime…
In an act of great courage and deep personal and national contrition, President Yeltsin bowed his head before the coffin of the soon to be canonized Tsar Nicholas II.
The President solemnly declared before Russia and the world that all the Russian people must atone for this "monstrous crime".
Russia, he said, had to end its "century of blood and lawlessness" with repentance and reconciliation.
…repentance and reconciliation..
"We all bear responsibility for the historical memory of the nation. That is why I could not fail to come here. I had to be here as both an individual and the president."
Condemning himself, as Communist Party chief at Yekaterinburg, where on direct orders from Moscow, he had supervised the destruction of the house where the imperial family was executed to prevent it becoming a monarchist shrine – he declared:
"Guilty are those who committed this heinous crime and those who have been justifying it for decades – all of us.
“We must not lie to ourselves, explaining this senseless cruelty with political goals."
"This is our historic chance,“ he said. “On the eve of the third millennium we must do it for the sake of our generation and those to come. Let us remember those innocent victims who have fallen to hatred and violence. May they rest in peace….”
…the disaster which followed….
The Bolsheik coup was a disaster not only for Russia and the enslaved nations, but also for the whole world.
In this column of 9 June, 2006, we reiterated the sometimes forgotten but irrefutable fact that prior to the First World War, economic development was well advanced in Russia, and the country was moving towards becoming a full constitutional monarchy.
The First World War intervened, and in the course of it Lenin had been sent in a sealed train by the German High Command to foment unrest in the Russian Empire and thus disrupt the Russian war effort. The war did not go well for Russia, so badly that the imperial government collapsed.
Unable to win a majority in the parliament, the Bolsheviks waited until a crucial time and seized power, dispersing the democratic assembly.
They proceeded to install one of the most brutal and absolute dictatorships known in modern history. To those who would say it was worth it, Oleg Gordievsky, a former Colonel of the KGB, writes:
“Russia under Nicholas II, with all the survivals of feudalism, had opposition political parties, independent trade unions and newspapers, a rather radical parliament and a modern legal system. Its agriculture was on the level of the USA, with industry rapidly approaching the Western European level.
“[In contrast] in the USSR there was total tyranny, no political liberties and practically no human rights. Its economy was not viable; agriculture was destroyed. The terror against the population reached a scope unprecedented in [human] history.
“No wonder many Russians look back at Tsarist Russia as a paradise lost.”