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If the coup fits.

The veil is lifted. The U.S. Government does not want democracy in Russia; it wants open markets in Russia. When the former obstruct the latter, it is democracy that must give way.

When Boris Yeltsin dissolved Russia's duly elected parliament in September, the Clinton Administration and its faithful in the media twisted themselves into contortions to deny the obvious: that Yeltsin had acted like any two-bit dictator. Everyone from Clinton on down told us that trampling on democracy was actually a necessary step toward preserving democracy in Russia.

"The United States has to be on the side of reform and democracy in Russia, and President Yeltsin represents that," Clinton said with a straight face the day after Yeltsin staged his coup.

"Russia: A Democrat's Coup," The New York Times unblushingly intoned on its editorial page. "Boris Yeltsin had no constitutional authority to suspend the powers of Russia's parliament yesterday and call early elections," The Times acknowledged. But the coup (which it called "bold") would "help consolidate Russian democracy, economic reforms, and more respectful relations with former Soviet republics." The Times failed to explain how Russian democracy was being consolidated when it was actually being dismantled.

Why does the Yeltsin coup fit Washington so comfortably?

Because Yeltsin is doing the bidding of American businesses that see in Russia vast natural resources to extract and vast markets to exploit. These are the "economic reforms" The Times alluded to.

It is Yeltsin's willingness to open his country's economy to foreign investment and sell off state enterprises to the West that endears him so to the ruling elite in this country. The day after Yeltsin staged his coup, the Administration drummed up support for Yeltsin around the world and urged Congress to hustle $2.5 billion of American aid to Russia. Democrats in Congress dutifully went along with the lie that Yeltsin was advancing democracy. But the truth can be found in the constant linking of Yeltsin's alleged love of democracy with his demonstrable love of the free market.

"The United States is moving ahead with this aid so there won't be any questions in Russia as to whether the United States is supporting a move toward democracy and a move toward a market economy," said Senator Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, a supposed liberal.

All of Washington stands in thrall of the "free market" in Russia, even though the hasty experiment with that market has wrecked the Russian economy, plummeting living standards and pillaging public properties. It is this free-market experiment--not some atavistic longing for a return to Stalinism--that fueled discontent with Yeltsin in the parliament and in the country at large.

The day before Yeltsin ordered his troops to storm the parliament in early October, President Clinton gave him a virtual green light. Clinton said Yeltsin had "bent over backwards" to avoid the use of force--diplomatic language for "do whatever you need to do." In fact, Yeltsin could have resolved the crisis peacefully by offering to stand for election in December; he'd ordered new parliamentary elections in December but refused to put himself on the ballot line. And, during the final stages of the siege, the leaders inside the parliament building offered a cease fire, but Yeltsin would have none of it and ordered the tanks to roll until those inside the parliament submitted to unconditional surrender. Thus the bloodless coup was soaked in blood.

Bertolt Brecht warned many years ago that the despot who dissolves parliament one day may dissolve the people the next. What will Clinton and The New York Times call that?
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Title Annotation:popularity of Boris Yeltsin in the U.S.
Publication:The Progressive
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 1, 1993
Previous Article:Placebo.
Next Article:Bon voyage, Aristide.

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