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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Demonstrators Mark October Clash




Protesters waving red flags and Communist banners marched through the streets of Moscow this weekend to mark the bloody fighting between opposition lawmakers and government troops that broke out five years ago.


About 500 mostly older Muscovites took part in an anti-government rally Saturday outside the mayor's office on Tverskaya Ulitsa. The turnout Sunday was bigger, with police saying about 6,000 people joined a march to the White House, the center of the confrontation in 1993.


The protesters mourned those who died in the clashes f 147 by official figures f and demanded the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin, who crushed his opponents by sending tanks against the White House on Oct. 4, 1993.


Each year since then, anti-Yeltsin forces have staged marches and rallies on that date, but this year their protests carry added resonance as Russia grapples with soaring prices, job losses and a sliding ruble.


"I do not usually take part in demonstrations but now I am so shocked by the impoverishment of the country," said Olga Semyonova, who like many Russians has been put on unpaid leave by her company because of the financial crisis.


"For seven years we have had barbarians, betrayers and marauders in power,'' thundered Gennady Zyuganov, the head of the Communist Party who led the march. "Today comes the time of reckoning for the final results of this incompetent policy."


The weekend rallies were precursors to what are predicted to be much larger, country-wide protests Wednesday, organized by Russia's trade unions and the Communists. Zyuganov urged the protesters to take part.


General Albert Makashov, one of the hard-line participants at the center of the October 1993 troubles, called for Yeltsin and his reform team to pay for Russia's economic troubles.


"Yeltsin should be turned into soap," he said, adding that the other reformers should be led to the medieval site of executions on Red Square for judgment and punishment.


Speaking Sunday night on NTV television, Makashov said "Yids" were to blame for the current problems and should be put in jail.


Makashov's anti-Semitic comments were not allowed to pass. Justice Minister Pavel Krasheninnikov, speaking on RTR television, accused Makashov of "inciting ethnic strife and calling for a forceful change of the constitutional regime." Krasheninnikov said his ministry would ask the Prosecutor General's Office to open a criminal investigation.


The 1993 skirmishes were sparked when Yeltsin decided to dissolve the conservative, Soviet-era parliament.


Hard-line lawmakers refused to disband and barricaded themselves inside the White House, now the main government building but which then housed the parliament.


The standoff erupted into violence Oct. 3 when an angry mob of supporters broke through police lines from the White House into the neighboring building housing the Moscow mayor's office. Armed conservatives later attempted to storm the Ostankino television broadcasting center.


The next day, Yeltsin called in troops and tanks that shelled parliament and forced his foes to surrender.