October 1993 – “strange revolution”

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  • 1993. Prayer for Russia
  • Prot. Vsevolod Chaplin: Civil feat of the people in 1993, withdrew Russia from the war
  • To remember the lessons of 1993

If the August 1991, in my memory, preserved as a time of hope, the events of October 1993, I vaguely perceive today, with a solid sense of unjustified violence.

Eugene Strelchik

A special shadow on these memories impose casualties of those days is not an abstract line with a teletype ribbon “killed so many people,” this is the real picture – I saw with my own eyes the corpses on the streets of Moscow.

At the time I worked in the “Evening Moscow” and the main problem of the daily newspaper is the front page. In the opening number need to put something that will attract readers – my constant headache. When 21 was released Yeltsin’s decree No. 1400, and the entire area of the roof was filled with soldiers and policemen, it was great – “barricade “barricade”, and from room to room – photo – soldiers among the fallen leaves… besides far from the editor is not necessary to go. However, then began to look for a new theme, but that could be compared with… the beginning of the civil war?

The cordon was tight. Only due to the fact that my car was number MOS (well, type the current AAA and SAM), I moved through the Vagankovskoye the bridge, but sometimes had to show press credentials… and Then something happened that surprised me greatly – of all the soldiers lost.

As the Church is “involved in politics”

The events of October 1993 had a very tragic outcome for Russia, but in the religious aspect they are significant, because in October 1993, the Church in Russia has undertaken the most ambitious attempt to intervene in politics. In late September, Patriarch Alexy was in the US, but news from Moscow forced him to shorten the planned duration of the trip.

In San Francisco, Alexy II said: “to Refrain from any action that at this critical time can lead to bloodshed and push for civil war”. These words he repeated September 28, when he returned to Moscow. Patriarch Alexy met with Yuri Luzhkov, deputies of the Chairman of the constitutional court V. Zorkin, was in the Kremlin at Boris Yeltsin…

The warring parties agreed to enter into negotiations with the mediation of the Russian Orthodox Church… for the last time of the delegation met at the Danilov monastery on 3 October at 16.00, the conversation frankly wasn’t working, and soon came the news about the events on the streets of Moscow, and the talks, it was decided to adjourn until 20.00. To the said time, the representatives of the opposing sides in the Svyato-Danilov monastery have arrived.

1993. The offering of the Vladimir icon of the prayer. Photo: RIA Novosti

3 October, Patriarch Alexy II prayed “for the salvation of the Russian state and the quenching of discord and of strife” before the miraculous icon of the Vladimir mother of God brought from the Tretyakov gallery. Then, after the procession, the Patriarch said that the one who first shed blood, is anathema.


The tragic events of October 1993, become a kind of milestone in your archpastoral Ministry of Patriarch Alexy. He participated in the intense negotiations, but to reconcile the warring parties and could not. It was a severe blow, it became bad with heart, and he, I think, has recognized the real position of the Russian Orthodox Church in the system of social-political relations of the new Russia.

Patriarch Alexy in 1993 during the constitutional crisis. Photo: Dmitry Donskoy / RIA “Novosti”

As it was actually

On Sunday evening, October 3, I heard on “Echo of Moscow” that the Supreme Council “took the offensive”. Already sat in his “Lada” and drove off, I thought I’d be able to reach where allowed. Passing the Presnya Barrikadnaya, American Embassy – have not met a single soldier, but yesterday here and the fly could not freely slip through. Why?

Put the car near the hotel “Mir” – not a single policeman. People walk, sing songs, cut the barbed wire on Souvenirs. No protection, city hall (CMEA) have already burned. “Echo of Moscow” has told that began the assault of Ostankino and that the broadcasting is interrupted. Flew an empty Moscow to the television station in a flash, stopped buses and went to watch the fight. The crowd there, could not see in the dark (it was already nine hours) and soldiers. Just along the street the Queen has worn the four-axle armored personnel carrier and fired, the bullets whistled pretty close, dozens of people squeezed into the asphalt, past carried the wounded. Horror!

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Armored vehicle with a terrible roar unfolds all its eight wheels on the spot, but it puts about 20 metres. I thought I was the soldier hit by the bus, and they will crush my car. Well, the caps were blowing, in the war games played, we sit in the car. Me runs up to the man and asks metro to take. Go. “What do you think, white or red?” – he asked me. I answered: “Look, let’s not, all life will rejoice that the man on the battle field taken out…” Despite the nightmare of the events, a sense of humor retained.

But work is work – in edition. Morning came troops began storming the White house. I took the tire iron from the car, broke the door to the roof, the guys televisie started shooting, as the lights of the Supreme Council. Luckily, 1905, the Parliament building was in full view. Come the guards: “bring down, and you will for the snipers, kill”. The whole building was blocked troops to leave was difficult, of course, everyone who wanted to, we were sent home, however, for some reason I had to argue with the military.

It seemed that all was over, and we sat down to drink vodka, suddenly we heard some banging, like hail on the roof. Turned, shoot. Then said that someone from the defenders of the White house was trying to break through the cordon just near the building of the publishing house. Run into the room editor, look out the window that overlooks the Zvenigorodskoe highway: buses by the military or with the police standing along the route, and the soldiers they poured our building with lead.

And at this point 10 inches from my head out of the window flies the bullet. I meters thirty-crawled…

Spent the night in the wording slept on tables and chairs, though few slept. Night call with radio “Freedom”, and I’m forty minutes explaining what was going on in Moscow, got in touch with the “Echo of Moscow” and TASS, reported that the building of the Publishing house “the Moscow truth”, where is located our editorial Board, were in a combat zone, told about the shooting. On TV, the news was told my message, my family was in a panic.

At six in the morning (what a dream!) a small company came out of the office. Silence. At the place where now stands a McDonalds in the square street of 1905, strewn shells, and the closer it was to the White house, so they became more, sometimes had nowhere to set foot. Near the metro station “Krasnopresnenskaya” I saw on the ground four bodies, on Rochdelskaya another, and around the sleeve. The white house was already in the cordon, but not strong, worked the fire…

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Of course, then I clearly know which side I’m on. There’s no doubt. But…

A few days later I brought our children on Krasnopresnenskaya embankment, to show the burned-out Parliament building, explained what happened. But today they don’t remember.


Then, when he wrote about these events, always put the story of his friend hieromonk Nikon (Belavenets), who in those days was among the defenders of the White house, in fact, we were on different sides of the barricade were supporters of the rival forces.

Interview of hieromonk Nikon (Belavenets):

Hieromonk Nikon

September 23 I decided to go to the White house.

However, I didn’t want to act arbitrarily, so I decided to seek the opinion of the hierarchy. His Holiness the Patriarch and Metropolitan Kirill were in the US, so I called the priest Vsevolod Chaplin and asked him to contact the Metropolitan to see if he had any objections to my being in the building of the Supreme Council. There was no objection, and I stayed there until the tragic morning of 4 October.

I went there as a priest, hoping that my word is able to keep from some hasty steps. Within two weeks I went around the barricades, reassuring people that they do not succumb to provocations, and because the rallies were not. It is important that the priest was always a priest, not a politician. Was tempted, offered to speak from the balcony. I refused this.

I was with people. Sometimes just hearing them, that they grieved. Sometimes professed. The hardest part isn’t the fear of death, and in expectation of death. Begin now to be afraid of expectations.

I well remember with what joy and was met with the arrival in the besieged Parliament of Metropolitan of Krutitsa and Kolomna Juvenal on the evening of 2 October. From the Lord came in a special kind of peace and tranquility, which all lacked in those tragic days. I managed to exchange a few words with him. “You serve here. You’re needed,” he blessed.

Until the end of his days will remember the divine Liturgy in the White house that we 3 Oct made by Archpriest Alexey Zlobin and archdeacon Roman (Tamberg) of the Svyato-Danilov monastery. When I finished the Liturgy, I ministered to several hundred people. Many people went to confession for the first time. It is a great experience for me. When a person does not know he will remain alive or not, he is a completely different confession. And to find some words to it and enhance, and at the same time to enlighten, not to succumb not to the best feelings, is not so easy.

Ten hours waiting for death is terribly exhausting, yet when the officers escorted us down to the street, I decided to go to the DECR, not being completely sure whether I get accepted there or not. And that’s about six in the evening with a scowl, I walked into the office of the Chairman of the DECR. “Shall I say is calling?” – asked the frightened Secretary. “Monk Nikon of the White house,” I replied not very friendly. A minute later the door swung open and I walked into the office, where in addition to Metropolitan Kirill and Metropolitan Yuvenaly. I have not had time to open his mouth, as Metropolitan Kirill has me wrapped in his arms. “It’s good that you’re still alive! You acted like a true priest,” these words of the Lord, I will never forget.

See also:

1993. Prayer for Russia

About the salvation of the Russian state and the quenching of discord and of strife

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