Yeltsin disbands the legislature, sends tanks to shell parliament, kills demonstrators in order to oppose those who openly advocate an authoritarian model of government

Yeltsin’s main dilemma throughout his entire administration was just how far he was willing to violate democracy in order to save it. In fall 1993, the Supreme Soviet—the parliament, which was still full of ex-Soviet apparatchiks—had blocked his reforms and called on federal regions to rebel. Yeltsin disbanded the legislature and sent tanks to smoke out the deputies who barricaded themselves inside; 140 died in the melee. It was a tough choice, but the alternative had seemed worse: total economic collapse and political implosion.

The Communists did not quit. As Yeltsin’s presidential term continued, he was opposed once again by a newly elected hostile parliament, the Duma, where the tone was set by Communists as well as the neo-fascist party of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who openly advocated an authoritarian model of government.

—Alexander Goldfarb, Death of a Dissident, (New York: Free Press, 2007), 33.

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