When None Dare Call It Treason – Part I

Treason doth never prosper, what’s the reason?
For if it prosper, none dare call it Treason.
John Harington

The Yeltsin Presidential Library: Archives of Betrayal?

When Russian President Vladimir Putin “christened” the new Presidential Library devoted to “Russia’s First President”, Boris Yeltsin

– well, a lot of people groaned in dismay.  People who regard Yeltsin as sort of the epitome of the Russian Traitor.  On a par with Dmitry the Pretender, who brought Polish troops right into the Kremlin in 1605.  Every Russian schoolchild knows how False-Dmitry  ended his life:  Torn apart by a mob, cremated, his ashes stuffed into a cannon and shot in the general direction of Poland.
Many Russians believe that the same fate should have accrued to Boris Yeltsin, as well as to his midwife:  Mikhail Gorbachev.  Except their ashes should be fired further West, at the U.S.A.

For example, take Georgiy V. Fedorov, a member of the Russian Parliament, and the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Social Politics, Labor Relations, and Quality of Life.

After certain tidbits from the Yeltsin Library archives were published on 10 December in the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Fedorov demanded of the Federal authorities that Gorbachev be prosecuted for High Treason.

Bush Daddy

What KP had published were formerly secret stenograms of telephone messages conducted between either Yeltsin or Gorbachev, on the one hand; and U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush (aka Bush I, aka “Bush Daddy”), on the other  For the purposes of this blogpost, let’s just call him “President Bush”, and stipulate that we are not talking about his son, George W. Bush Jr., aka “W”.

Yeltsin’s phone conversation with President Bush occurred on 8 December 1991, and lasted for 28 minutes.

A couple of weeks later, on 25 December 1991 Gorbachev also spoke with President Bush over the phone.

Both conversations were secretly recorded by the CIA.  The conversations were then typed out by stenographers.  The “stenograms” were classified until 2008, at which time they were handed over to the “Yeltsin Center” recently opened in Yekaterinburg.  And now they reside in the Yeltsin Presidential Library.

Prosecutor Yury Chaika

Having read the contents of the stenograms, as published by KP, Duma Deputy Fedorov was outraged and demanded an investigation.  In his view, the stenograms prove that both Yeltsin and Gorbachev plotted with the U.S. government to destroy the Soviet Union.  At the very least, Yeltsin and Gorby leaked classified information to Russia’s geo-political enemy.  Fedorov demands, in his letter to Russian Prosecutor Yury Yakovlevich Chaika, that the stenograms be authenticated; and if authenticated, then a treason trial would be the next order of business.

Chaika has 30 days to respond to Fedorov’s demand.

While Chaika is thinking about this, let me take a moment to Nostradamize:

I hope I am wrong, but I don’t believe that anybody is going to be prosecuted for these treasonous activities.  For starters, Yeltsin is dead.  Gorby is still alive, but is considered an international “icon”:  He is the man who unified Germany, and his prosecution for treason would be like throwing raw meat to the Western propaganda machine.  Furthermore, the current government of the Russian Federation, headed by President Putin, as the successor to President Yeltsin, tracks its legitimacy based on the supposed legitimacy of Yeltsin and his 3-way putsch.  Nobody, therefore, is going to allow Yeltsin’s dubious legacy to be attacked.  Even if there were actual videotape of Yeltsin slipping microfilm to George Smiley.

[Next:  In which I translate some of the juicier bits…   to be Continued]

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20 Responses to When None Dare Call It Treason – Part I

  1. bolasete says:

    you’re a serial poster! for some “the man who unified Germany” deserves indictment for that outcome alone. are there any ‘good’ english language (tho french or spanish would work too) works on the soviet transition to us lackey from commie pov? gotta be a wealth of knowledge somewhere, not opinions (usually retrospectively arrived at) but fact-based history.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Dear bolasete:
      (1) It’s true that I enjoy eating Post brands of cereal, and fortunately for me, I don’t have any issues with gluten or hyperglycemia.

      (2) You’re absolutely right about Germany: Letting the Krauts reunite is pretty much asking for WWIII. Given Krauts warlike nature. I think I agree with François Mauriac who allegedly said, “I love Germany so much, that I think there should be several of them.” (Just kidding, Germans, if any of you are reading my B.S.)
      (3) Arggg, you are asking for works translated into English, Spanish, or French from commie POV about the putsch? Now, there WAS a book, which I actually read in English, although it was translated from Russian, but I couldn’t find a Russian copy. And it was written by a member of the Soviet Central Committee, who was one of the men indicted by the Yeltsinites for attempted resistance to the coup. But God help me, I don’t have the book any more, and I don’t remember the man’s name. (Can anyone out there help me and my pal bolasete?) This man wrote about how Gorby went off the reservation, became a dictator, and started making up his own foreign policy as he went along, without consulting with the Central Committee, or even the Politburo. Which eventually led to his backroom deals with Reagan/Bush.
      (4) Another man who is worth reading is Viktor Alksnis, but I don’t know if any of his books have been translated into English/French/Spanish.

      [Just kidding about the cereal, by the way, that shit is BAD for you.]

      Like

      • Cortes says:

        “Therese Desqueyroux” by Mauriac was a cheerful novel I had to read as an undergraduate, cheerful as in visiting the local hardware store and buying sufficient rope to hang oneself after ploughing through the turgid prose. I had intended to confer a “Mallea” upon him, on learning Eduardo Mallea, author of the stunningly cheerful “Todo verdor perecera” (Everything Green Will Die “) was interred there, I went to his niche in Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires and scooped a snifter to his demise, the miserabilist c**t), but with Christmas spirit I graciously grant a reprieve to the Lion of Les Landes pending verification of the bon mot re Germany.

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        • Jen says:

          Cortes: Glad you read the book before I even thought about doing so myself. I’ve seen the two movie versions of “Therese Desqueyroux” and in both, the soapie plot is dreary (though what both movies insinuate about Therese and her sister-in-law, and the way they portray the husband’s attitude to Therese when he discovers that she tried to poison him are different) so I assume the book is the same.

          Recommend that you never read Junichiro Tanizaki’s “The Makioka Sisters” or see the movie based on the novel. Like the Mauriac novel, Tanizaki’s novel is considered a literary classic and it’s about the decline of the upper class in a changing society. I read the novel (in English translation) ages ago but don’t remember anything of it, it was so boring.

          Like

        • yalensis says:

          What a beautiful Christmas story, thanks for that Cortes!
          The moral of your story: There is some good in everyone, even Mauriac.

          Or, as Tiny Tim used to say:
          “Oh my! Look at all the wonderful things to eat! We must thank Mister Scrooge, that miserable c**t.”

          Like

  2. Lyttenburgh says:

    I’d liketo add that this is not the first attempt to persecute Gorby for the treason.

    From the “Groaning Man”: Russian MPs say Mikhail Gorbachev should be prosecuted for treason

    “A group of Russian MPs have formally requested prosecutors to investigate former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for treason over the breakup of the Soviet Union, a lawmaker said on Thursday.

    Ivan Nikitchuk, a Communist party deputy, said recent events and the Ukraine crisis in particular have led five MPs, including two from the ruling United Russia party, to ask the prosecutor general, Yury Chaika, to examine Gorbachev, 83.

    “We asked to prosecute him and those who helped him destroy the Soviet Union for treason of national interests,” said Nikitchuk, adding that Soviet citizens in 1991 were against the country’s breakup.

    Seeking to create a more open and prosperous Soviet Union through glasnost and perestroika, Gorbachev ended up unleashing forces that swept away the country he had sought to preserve and himself from power.

    “The consequences of that destruction can be felt today in the conflicts that we have seen,” said Nikitchuk.

    He added that this included not only Ukraine but other former Soviet countries over the past two decades.”

    This article was published long time ago – 10 April 2014. Nothing came out of this.

    Yes, now His Toadness Gorby the Last says all the right kind of things – that Crimea’s re-unin woth Russia was justified or that people ruling Kiev are not quite harmless pro-Western democrats. But as in that joke about an old Welshman and a sheep – do it once and you will be remembered for that forever.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, you’re right, these other deputies asked Chaika, back in 2014, to open a case against Gorby.
      And what did Chaika do?
      Zilcho!
      When, oh when, will we ever see Justice? I shake my fist and condemn all of creation!

      Like

  3. davidt says:

    If I were Russian I might well hate Gorbachev but not principally because he “unified Germany”. (I am supposing that Russia will never be attacked by the Germans again.) In about 1986, I remember asking an old colleague whether he thought something good would come out of the Soviet Union and he assured me it would. Yet a few years later the whole enterprise was swept away. My underlying point is that the Soviet Union had to change- this was fairly generally recognized inside the country at the time. The tragedy for the country was that Gorbachev was singularly unable to manage that change. Solzhenitsyn was arguably close to the mark when he said: “Gorbachev’s administration was amazingly politically naive, inexperienced and irresponsible towards the country. It was not governance but a thoughtless renunciation of power. The admiration of the West in return only strengthened his conviction that this approach was right. But let us be clear that it was Gorbachev, and not Yeltsin, as is now widely being claimed, who first gave freedom of speech and movement to the citizens of our country.” Even if this judgement is a too gentle the last thing Russia needs today is talk of bringing a treason charge against Gorbachev- the country has much more important issues that it has to deal with. Anyway, that’s my tuppence worth.

    Like

    • yalensis says:

      Dear David:
      Well, I think everybody can stipulate that certain aspects of the Soviet system had become ossified and needed to be reformed. But that could be said about ANY society. Reforms and modifications can take place without razing the entire thing to the ground.
      Look at the Chinese: They successfully reformed their Communist system and became a super-power in the process, without having to throw the baby out with the bath-water.

      More to the point, thanks to Gorby and Yeltsin’s treasonous coup, Russia effectively was occupied by the U.S. for several years. Before eventually managing to shake off the occupation. Not unlike Iraq. And I don’t even think that is an exagerration.

      Nonetheless, I agree with you that going through the motions of prosecuting Gorbachev would be a mistake and a distraction, at this stage of the game.
      The only purpose would be to give enormous psychological satisfaction to people who thirst for the blood of righteous vengeance, and dreamed of some day seeing Gorby’s head on a pike.
      Apart from that – not worth even an extra second of anybody’s time. Let him die a peaceful death in his bed, at the mercy of his own nagging conscience.

      Like

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        I don’t think anything legal binding will come from that but at least this whole thing makes people talk and think about their history. This allows them to voice their attitude to the USSR’s dissolution aloud, for others (even… far away others) to hear and learn about Russian’s current attitudes.

        Like

        • yalensis says:

          Excellent point, Lyttenburgh!
          I think it is very important for Russians (and others) to talk about this history, and know exactly what happened.
          To go into the future with open eyes about the past.

          Like

      • davidt says:

        As I said, I am not Russian. On the other hand, I don’t believe that Gorbachev set out to destroy the country and he could have made things much worse by using force at the wrong time. As I implied I am not a fan of Gorbachev and I do find his behavior today to be lacking in intellectual and ethical honesty. But why would I expect anything different from a retired leader. I suspect too that you underestimate the need for change in the Soviet Union- the Chinese at least had the example of what could go wrong. As an outsider I am continually amazed as to how difficult it seems to change ingrained attitudes and behavior inside Russia and its institutions. (As a parenthetical remark, I admit that for a 15 year period I could barely bring myself to read anything of Russia, such was the awfulness of the stories that I picked up from the mathematical community.) As far as Lyttenburgh’s comment is concerned, the reality is that people in the West care little about Russian opinion regarding the break up of the Soviet Union, or anything else, for that matter. Sorry, but I cannot imagine any upside to an “attack” on Gorbachev.

        Like

    • Jen says:

      I would add to Davidt’s opinion the likelihood that Gorbachev underestimated the people he was dealing with and might not have been aware that George H W Bush was an ex-CIA director and could have been relying on the CIA to give him advice and suggestions on how to nudge Gorbachev into making decisions that made the break-up of the Soviet Union possible. This naivety would dovetail with his belief that when US Secretary of State James Baker said that NATO would not extend membership to former Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe if the USSR would allow the two Germanies to reunite, that this promise was genuine.

      The treason charge might not stand up in court if just those two taped conversations constitute the entire basis of Fedorov’s accusation. He would need stronger proof of Gorbachev’s intentions. The taped conversation shows Gorbachev as a blabbermouth but does not necessarily show intent in the way the other taped conversation might demonstrate for Yeltsin. The fact that Gorbachev regrets his role in the break-up of the Soviet Union and has said so publicly would be one argument against Fedorov.

      Like

      • yalensis says:

        I agree. It would be difficult to prove treasonous INTENT on Gorby’s part.

        Yeltsin, on the other hand – it’s all there, in black and white.
        I just finished translating and posting Yeltsin’s conversation, and to my mind it CLEARLY shows treasonous intent.
        For me the kicker is when Boris tries to report to Bush about Shaposhnikov’s reaction to Clause #6 of the (secret) agreement, Clause #6 being about defense and international security matters. And Bush CUTS HIM OFF, saying that third parties such as the U.S. should not be privy to this information just yet.

        One would like to think this shows some class and delicacy on the part of Bush Daddy.
        But probably also, Bush was very cognizant that the conversations were being taped, and he wanted to preserve at least a quantum of propriety in this dirty business of betrayal.

        Like

        • davidt says:

          A little point. Although I don’t subscribe much to the “cherchez la femme” view of history, I always held quite a negative opinion of Raisa Gorbacheva and thought that she had too much of an influence on Mikhail. John Helmer thought much the same thing it seems- he held a more negative opinion of Eduard Shevardnadze,
          http://www.johnhelmer.net/?page_id=47

          Like

          • yalensis says:

            Dear David:
            I agree that Raisa was a negative influence on Gorby.
            I also agree that Shevardnadze was a dickhead.

            No…. I shouldn’t have said that last part.
            Because Eduard did at least one thing right:
            He begat the lovely Sophie, who is both brilliant AND beautiful!

            Like

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            I was actually acquainted with a person, who knew Gorbachevs couple. She’s a mother of my friend’s wife, a professor in MSU Philosophy department. According to her, it was Raisa who was the “brains” of their duo, ’cause Mishka Gorbachev was not particularly smart… or even hard working.

            Like

            • yalensis says:

              And I think the phone call between Bush and Gorby proves that point (that Misha wasn’t too bright), ’cause Bush is playing him like a fiddle!

              Like

        • Jen says:

          For his part, Fedorov could argue that a reasonable person in Gorbachev’s position should have known that any conversation between him/herself and the US President was likely to be taped by US and/or Soviet intelligence services. The same person should also have directed the KGB to find out as much information as possible on George H W Bush, once he became President, to ascertain his background and any connections he might have, that might influence any policies he might make in relation to the Soviet Union. There would have been plenty of information on Bush and his background that would have set off alarm bells for the KGB: the fact that Bush was once CIA director, and that his father Prescott Bush had indirect business dealings with Nazi Germany through being a board director of a company that owned a subsidiary with factory operations in Nazi-occupied southern Poland, not far from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex, during WW2.
          https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/06/bush-j05.html

          Like

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