August 18, 1991
Appeal to the Soviet people
Compatriots! Citizens of the Soviet Union!
At a difficult hour, critical for the fate of the Fatherland and our peoples, we turn to you! A mortal danger looms over the great Motherland! Started on the initiative of GlossarM.S. Gorbachev’s policy of reforms, conceived as a means of ensuring the dynamic development of the country and the democratization of public life, has reached dead ends for a number of reasons. Initial enthusiasm and hopes were replaced by disbelief, apathy and despair. Power at all levels has lost the confidence of the population. Politics ousted from public life concern for the fate of the Fatherland and the citizen. Spiteful mockery is being imposed on all the institutions of the state. The country has essentially become unmanageable.
Taking advantage of the freedoms granted, trampling on the sprouts of democracy that had just appeared, extremist forces arose that took a course towards the elimination of the Soviet Union, the collapse of the state and the seizure of power at any cost. The results of a national referendum on the unity of the Fatherland have been trampled underfoot. Cynical speculation on national feelings is just a screen for satisfying ambitions. Neither the troubles of their peoples today, nor their tomorrow, bother political adventurers. Creating an atmosphere of moral and political terror and trying to hide behind a shield of popular trust, they forget that the ties they condemn and break were established on the basis of much broader popular support, which, moreover, has passed centuries-old test of history. Today, those who are essentially leading the case to the overthrow of the constitutional order, must answer to mothers and fathers for the deaths of many hundreds of victims of interethnic conflicts. They are responsible for the crippled fates of more than half a million refugees. Because of them, tens of millions of Soviet people lost their peace and joy of life, who only yesterday lived in a single family, but today they are outcasts in their own homes.
The people must decide what the social system should be, and they are trying to deprive them of this right.
Instead of taking care of the safety and well-being of every citizen and the entire society, often people in whose hands the power is now use it in interests alien to the people, as a means of unprincipled self-affirmation. Streams of words, mountains of statements and promises only emphasize the paucity and wretchedness of practical deeds. Inflation of power, more terrible than any other, destroys our state and society. Every citizen feels growing uncertainty about the future, deep concern for the future of their children.
The crisis of power has had a catastrophic effect on the economy. The chaotic spontaneous slide towards the market has caused an explosion of selfishness – regional, departmental, group and personal. The war of laws and the encouragement of centrifugal tendencies resulted in the destruction of a single national economic mechanism that had been taking shape for decades. The result was a sharp drop in living standards for the overwhelming majority of Soviet people, the flourishing of speculation and the shadow economy. It is high time to tell people the truth: if urgent and decisive measures are not taken to stabilize the economy, then in the very near future famine and a new round of impoverishment are inevitable, from which one step is to massive manifestations of spontaneous discontent with destructive consequences. Only irresponsible people can rely on some kind of help from abroad. Handouts won’t solve our problems salvation is in our own hands. The time has come to measure the authority of each person or organization with a real contribution to the restoration and development of the national economy.
For many years, from all sides, we hear incantations about commitment to the interests of the individual, concern for his rights, social protection. In fact, the person turned out to be humiliated, infringed in real rights and opportunities, entrusted to despair. All democratic institutions created by popular will are losing weight and effectiveness. This is the result of the purposeful actions of those who, grossly violating the Basic Law of the USSR, actually commit an anti-constitutional coup and are drawn to an unbridled personal dictatorship. Prefectures, city halls and other illegal structures are increasingly substituting for themselves the Glossarcouncils elected by the people .
There is an attack on workers’ rights. The rights to work, education, health care, housing, recreation are called into question.
Even the basic personal safety of people is increasingly threatened. Crime is growing rapidly, organized and politicized. The country is plunging into the abyss of violence and lawlessness. Never in the history of the country has the propaganda of sex and violence received such a scale, endangering the health and lives of future generations. Millions of people are demanding action against the octopus of crime and gross immorality.
The deepening destabilization of the political and economic situation in the Soviet Union undermines our position in the world. In some places, revanchist notes were heard, demands are being made to revise our borders. There are even voices about the dismemberment of the Soviet Union and the possibility of establishing international trusteeship over individual objects and regions of the country. This is the bitter reality. Just yesterday, a Soviet person who found himself abroad felt himself a worthy citizen of an influential and respected state. Today he is often a second-class foreigner, whose treatment bears the stamp of contempt or sympathy.
The pride and honor of the Soviet people must be restored in full.
GlossarThe State Committee for the State of Emergency in the USSR is fully aware of the depth of the crisis that hit our country, it takes responsibility for the fate of the Motherland and is determined to take the most serious measures to bring the state and society out of the crisis as soon as possible.
We promise to hold a broad nationwide discussion of the draft of the new Union Treaty. Everyone will have the right and the opportunity in a calm atmosphere to comprehend this most important act and decide on it, because the fate of the many peoples of our great Motherland will depend on what the Union will be like.
We intend to immediately restore law and order, put an end to bloodshed, declare merciless war on the criminal world, eradicate the shameful phenomena that discredit our society and humiliate Soviet citizens. We will cleanse the streets of our cities of criminal elements, put an end to the arbitrariness of the plunders of the people’s property.
We stand for truly democratic processes, for a consistent policy of reforms leading to the renewal of our Motherland, its economic and social prosperity, which will allow it to take its rightful place in the world community of nations.
The development of the country should not be based on a drop in the living standards of the population. In a healthy society, it will become the norm to continuously improve the well-being of all citizens.
Without weakening our concern for the strengthening and protection of individual rights, we will focus on protecting the interests of the broadest sections of the population, those who have been hit hardest by inflation, disruption of production, corruption and crime.
Developing the diversified nature of the national economy, we will also support private entrepreneurship, providing it with the necessary opportunities for the development of production and services.
Our first priority will be to solve food and housing problems. All available forces will be mobilized to meet these most pressing needs of the people.
We call on the workers, peasants, the working intelligentsia, all Soviet people to restore labor discipline and order in the shortest possible time, to raise the level of production, so that then decisively move forward. Our life and the future of our children and grandchildren, the fate of the Fatherland depend on this.
We are a peace-loving country and we will strictly abide by all our commitments. We have no claims to anyone. We want to live with everyone in peace and friendship, but we firmly declare that no one will ever be allowed to encroach on our sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Any attempts to speak with our country in the language of dictatorship, no matter who they come from, will be resolutely suppressed.
Our multinational people have lived for centuries filled with pride in their homeland, we were not ashamed of our patriotic feelings, and we consider it natural and legitimate to raise the current and future generations of citizens of our great power in this spirit.
To be inactive at this critical hour for the fate of the Fatherland means to assume heavy responsibility for the tragic, truly unpredictable consequences. Everyone who cares about our Motherland, who wants to live and work in an atmosphere of calm and confidence, who does not accept the continuation of bloody interethnic conflicts, who sees their Fatherland in the future independent and prosperous, must make the only right choice. We call all true patriots, people of good will, to put an end to the present times of troubles.
We call on all citizens of the Soviet Union to realize their duty to the Motherland and to provide all-round support to the State Committee for the State of Emergency in the USSR and efforts to bring the country out of the crisis.
Constructive proposals of social and political organizations, labor collectives and citizens will be gratefully accepted as a manifestation of their patriotic readiness to actively participate in the restoration of age-old friendship in a single family of fraternal peoples and the revival of the Fatherland.
State Committee for the State of Emergency in the USSR
August 18, 1991
True, August 20, 1991.