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Gracious in Triumph

by Conrad Black (January 2014)

In January 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev had recourse to traditional Soviet repressive methods in Georgia and Latvia, but his heart wasn’t in it, and he wasn’t prepared to kill people as Stalin and Khrushchev and even occasionally Brezhnev had done. On March 17, 1991, 76.4% of Soviet voters ostensibly voted to remain in a reformed Soviet Union, although the Baltic republics and Georgia and Armenia voted to secede and Moldova abstained. But on June 12, Boris Yeltsin, who had defected from the Communist Party and sought full democracy, denationalization and decontrol of all industry and agriculture, and the Russian secession from the Soviet Union, was elected head of the Russian Republic with 57% in a free vote. He was now a very serious rival, in terms of legitimacy, to speak for the Russians, to Gorbachev.  more>>>