MODERN RUSSIA The confrontation of legislative and executive authorities 1992-1993. Boris Yeltsin

SOVIET RUSSIA. Brief history of the USSR



The confrontation of legislative and executive authorities 1992-1993. Boris Yeltsin


In the post-perestroika transition period (1992-1993), following the political formulation of the new government in 1991, the economic and constitutional foundations of the new state structure of Russia are being established. At the same time, the main task of the new leadership of the country was to consolidate political changes in Russian society. The Russian economy, its constitutional structure should have been brought in line with the new political system of the country, which implied the transition to a market economy, its de-monopolization and privatization, the creation of a class of private entrepreneurs and owners, the strengthening of the power of the president.


At the 5th congress of the people's deputies of the Russian Federation (October 1991), B. Yeltsin presented a program of radical economic reforms, which envisaged liberalization of prices and wages, freedom of trade and privatization. Given the current difficult economic situation, the deputies in general approved the program and even gave the president additional powers for its implementation. On November 6-8, 1991, a government was formed headed by B. Yeltsin and two vice-premiers: G. Burbulis (in charge of political issues) and E. Gaidar (Minister of Economics and Finance, who oversaw economic reform). The government also operated an institute of advisers, where the leading role belonged to the American economist-liberal D. Sax.


On January 2, 1992, the first step was taken towards a market economy — liberalization of prices and trade was carried out. As conceived by Deputy Prime Minister E. Gaidar, this was supposed to return the role of the elemental price and production regulator to money, and lead to the destruction of the monopoly of intermediaries in the trading network. However, the underestimation of the monopolization of production, as well as the government’s self-elimination from control over price formation, led to their uncontrollable surge. In January 1992, the rise in prices amounted to 1000-1200%, and by the end of the year they increased no less than 26 times. At the same time, an increase in wages in 1992 occurred only 12 times.


The reform did not provide for the indexation of savings deposits of the population, which led to their simultaneous depreciation. The hopes of the government for large-scale monetary assistance from the West did not materialize either. Under these conditions, the Yeltsin-Gaidar government could not fulfill the promised social guarantees when carrying out reforms. The policy of "shock therapy", not supported by Western loans and investments, nevertheless continued, and the main goal was to stabilize the financial system, create a deficit-free budget by halting subsidies to unprofitable enterprises and industries, reducing social payments to the population. The stabilization of Russian finances should have caused, according to Gaidar, the growth of foreign and domestic investments in the Russian economy.


The continuation of the "shock therapy" policy in conditions of impoverishment of the population, the ruin of light and defense industry enterprises, and agricultural production led to the formation of wide opposition to the Gaidar-Yeltsin reform course. Opposition movements received the support of the Russian parliament, which assumed the role of defender of domestic producers, as well as victims of the reforms. The confrontation between the government and parliament was intensified by the latter’s pressure on the Central Bank of Russia (dependent on parliament and not part of the government structure) in order to achieve subsidies to enterprises, as well as in view of the “anti-Russian,” according to the terminology of deputies, the government’s foreign policy.


At the VI Congress of the People's Deputies of the Russian Federation (April 1992), the government was criticized, while the directors corps also expressed support for the positions of the parliament. Under these conditions, B. Yeltsin went for some personnel changes. G. Burbulis was withdrawn from the government, it was supplemented with three new deputy prime ministers (V. Shumeiko, G. Hizha, V. Chernomyrdin - all representatives of the domestic industry). At the time, the opposition of the parliament and the government weakened. In June 1992, the Russian industry received preferential loans from the Central Bank of Russia, which led to a new jump in inflation. Under these conditions, the government demanded harsh measures against debtors, ending the practice of state subsidies to enterprises; this was supported by the IMF.


The summer confrontation of the government (from June 1992, Acting Prime Minister E. Gaidar) and the Parliament took place against the background of the unfolding privatization process. On August 19, 1992, Russian President B. Yeltsin issued a decree "On the introduction of a system of privatization checks in the Russian Federation" (voucher privatization). In the country as a result of the mass decentralized privatization of 1992-1993. 40 million nominee shareholders appeared, with the majority of enterprises under the control of financial groups. Privatization, creating a layer of owners, proved to be economically ineffective, not giving the expected growth of investment. Privatization also intensified criticism of the government, which was never able to stop the decline in production and the impoverishment of the population (about 44% of the population of Russia were below the subsistence minimum). In December 1992, the VII Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian Federation achieved the resignation of E. T. Gaidar, in place of which V. Chernomyrdin was appointed Prime Minister.


The commencement of 1993 revealed a growing confrontation between the president and parliament in approaching the most important issues of Russia's economic and political life. Under the conditions when parliament began drafting constitutional changes in favor of the legislative power, on March 20, 1993, B. Yeltsin made an attempt to suspend the legislative activities of the parliament and the Supreme Soviet, announcing on television a decree establishing "a special procedure for governing the country." In the conditions of criticism of the decree by the Constitutional Court, the General Prosecutor’s Office and representatives of the parliament (as contradicting the Constitution), the president was forced to declare the preliminary nature of the decree.


At the eighth congress of the people's deputies of the Russian Federation held in April, an attempt was made to remove B. Yeltsin from his post. Until the required number of congress lacked a few votes. Under these conditions, B. Yeltsin proposed to hold a referendum on trust in the president, the course of government reforms, on re-election of the president and parliament. Most of the participants in the referendum spoke in favor of trusting Boris Yeltsin and the socio-economic policy of the government, while at the same time speaking out against the early elections of the president and people's deputies. Russian society has demonstrated a desire to stabilize the country's political life.


However, the results of the referendum were evaluated by the opposing sides as an absolute victory, allowing more rigid negotiations. The first to go on the offensive was B. Yeltsin, issuing on September 21, 1993 decree No. 1400 “On the phased constitutional reform in the Russian Federation”. According to the document, the congress of people's deputies and the Supreme Soviet was dissolved, elections to the new legislative body (Federal Assembly) were appointed on December 11-12, 1993. The Supreme Council, and then the IX Out-of-ordinary Congress of People's Deputies (Chairman of the Supreme Council RI Khasbulatov) obey the decree. At the congress, Yeltsin’s actions were declared unconstitutional, and Vice-President A. V. Rutskoi assumed office as President. Attempts by the opposition to create a capable government were unsuccessful. Boris Yeltsin continued to control the power departments, blocking the activities of the parliament, as well as the building where he met.


On October 2, mass demonstrations of supporters of parliament were held in Moscow. On October 3, the demonstrators broke through the blockade of the White House (parliament building). During the approach of the demonstrators to the parliament building, shots rang out: victims appeared among the participants. The chain of militiamen blocking the White House, weakened compared to October 2, was crushed. A.V. Rutskoy and R.I. Khasbulatov called on the demonstrators to storm the city hall and the Ostankino television center. Using trucks that turned out at the White House, the demonstrators, together with the nationalist units that joined them, made an unsuccessful attempt to assault Ostankino on the evening of October 3. There were human casualties on both sides. Describing the events of October 3 as an attempt at a “red-brown coup”, B. Yeltsin led troops into Moscow. In the morning of October 4, 1993, shelling of the White House began with direct fire from tank guns. A few hours later, the parliament surrendered. Leaders of resistance Rutskoi, Khasbulatov and General Makashov were arrested. "Putsch", in the terminology of B. Yeltsin, was suppressed. Using the current situation, the president appointed the election of legislative bodies and the new Constitution (revised to increase the powers of the president) on December 12, 1993.


The results of the December vote, even under the presidential rule, turned out to be unexpected. The 1993 Constitution was adopted by an insignificant, contested by the opposition, by a majority of votes, and the LDPR of Zhirinovsky won (24%) in the elections to the lower house of the Federal Assembly (State Duma). The Communist Bloc (CPRF) and Agrarians (APR) gained a total of about 22% (the CPRF - 13%), the opposition-minded Yabloko and Women of Russia - 7.8% each, the Democratic Party of Russia - 7.6% . At the same time, the government party of E. Gaidar DVR (Russia's Democratic Choice) won only 15.4% of the vote, another 7.6% of the votes were received by the pro-government party S. Shahrai of the PRES (Russian Unity and Consent Party). Thus, the majority in the State Duma began to belong to the opposition, and the representative of the APR, I. Rybkin, was elected its chairman



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