THE SUPREME SOVIET
OF THE USSR
SUSPENDS ALL ACTIVITIES OF
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF
THE SOVIET UNION (CPSU)
August 29, 1991
BORIS YELTSIN IN HIS SEAT AT
THE 28th (AND LAST) CONGRESS OF
THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE SOVIET UNION
(CPSU), MOSCOW, JULY 1990
YELTSIN WALKING OUT OF THE PARTY, here
Twenty-two years ago today, the USSR Supreme Soviet, then the highest government authority in the then Soviet Union, voted to suspend the activities of the previously ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union "pending an investigation of its role" in the August coup.
As the New York Times report on the subject noted, "The fate of the party was already sealed before Parliament's vote. Individual republics had closed its offices and seized its vast properties and funds and President Mikhail S. Gorbachev had quit as its General Secretary and had called on the leadership to step down."
"Individual republics" -- yes, but, the individual republic that mattered was that of the RSFSR, or Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, whose duly elected president was Boris Yeltsin.
On July 20, 1991, Yeltsin had signed a "departization" decree "aimed against Party activity (officially, all parties' activities) in government organizations and state enterprises on Russian soil" (to quote myself in SIC TRANSIT, Chapter 8, "Endgame").
On July 30, 1991, after his meeting with American president George Bush in the Kremlin, Boris Yeltsin was happy to interpret his actions and intentions to those of us waiting to listen. [See here and here.]
To continue quoting "Endgame," "Gorbachev, facing another hostile Central Committee meeting shortly, should thank him [Yeltsin] for opening a second front and providing a diversionary action, he gloated. The decree, due to come into effect on August 4th, had stirred up a storm of protest and condemnation from CPSU and Russian Communist Party bodies. Its timing may have been chosen, as Yeltsin alleged, to draw conservative ire away from Gorbachev at a crucial juncture, but its main thrust continued the battle to break the Party's power from within. ... However weakened the Party might have been already, through Gorbachev's initiatives and subsequent internal hemorrhaging, it still had a grip on the Soviet polity and economy that enabled it to stifle real reform. Yeltsin's decree was intended to cut off its tentacles in the government offices and workplaces of the Russian Republic, his domain, more than a month before Gorbachev was finally moved to take action against its head -- after the coup."