Zhirinovsky's Russian Empire

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Pellegrino, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Threadmarks: PRELUDE

    Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States

    Zhirinovsky cross-examines Grozny massacre witness at trial

    Courtesy of BBC
    21 January 2012

    Last updated at 14:52 ET

    The former president of the Union of Independent States, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, has cross-examined a survivor of the Grozny massacre, at his trial for war crimes at The Hague.

    Mr Zhirinovsky, who is defending himself, spent much of his time berating the man who had just described seeing around 158 men killed at Grozny. As had become the case for much of his trial, he taunted both the victims and the United Nations tribunal.

    “The only thing that is important to me is that you are not in Russia any more!” Mr Zhirinovsky screamed at the witness, “You may fool the Korean, but you will never fool the Russian people! You are a terrorist and your fellow terrorists got what they deserved!”

    He denies 1,451 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity stemming from his time as head of the UIS.

    Prosecutors say he orchestrated a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" against numerous ethnic groups throughout the former Soviet Union as well as his actions in Yugoslavia, Romania, and Afghanistan.

    Mr Zhirinovsky, now 65, was arrested in 2009 after nearly three years under house arrest in The UIS Republic of Russia.

    He was president of the Republic of Russia from 1991 to 1996 as well as the president of the UIS from 1996-2003. Mr Zhirinovsky was ousted in a popular Revolution that saw his Vice President (Alexander Lebed) seize power. As president of the UIS, he was named Supreme Commander of its army during the Chechen civil war and the Afghan intervention as part of the U.S.-sponsored invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. International observers note that between those two major conflicts, over 1,000,000 people were killed and more than ten million driven from their homes.

    Vladimir Zhirinovsky was particularly wanted for masterminding the killings of over one hundred thousand people in Grozny upon the fall of the city in 1997, as well as his role in the “Rape of Sarajevo”, when the former Bosnian capital was overrun by Serbian and Russian forces during the Yugoslavian civil war in 1996. Both incidents have been ruled genocide by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Soviet Union (ICTSI).

    Single survivor

    The witness, who took the stand on Thursday, is known as Protected Witness GZ1121. He described seeing men killed in Grozny on 19 June 1997, including twenty who were killed in a mass execution.

    "When we heard the news that Grozny had fallen, we knew we had to leave. Many of us fled to Grozny from the other parts of the county, we saw what the Russians were doing. We knew they were going to kill us all." the man said.

    Detained by Russian forces on 21 and 22 of June, 1997, the man was transferred to the auditorium at the Chechen State University, where he managed to survive despite a group of soldiers being detailed to execute him and those held with him.

    Zhirinovsky’s trial opened in January of 2010, but has been hit by several delays since. Mr. Zhirinovsky has often yelled out pro-Russian slogans during the trial, as well as hurling insults at the prosecutor, witnesses, and judges. He was found in contempt of court when he called presiding judge O-Gon Kwon a “Korean whoremonger” during opening statements, and has subsequently been warned for referring to the judicial panel as “the Muslim harem” during the trial. He interrupted the Prosecution’s opening statement in 2010 to claim that the UN had been bought with “30 pieces of Saudi silver,” and has repeatedly yelled in court that “vengeance will belong to the Russian people”, a phrase that has become synonymous with the controversial leader and can be seen throughout the UIS on bumper stickers, t-shirts, and banners.

    The Grozny phase is the fourth and final stage of the prosecution's case - about 360 witnesses are expected to take the stand.

    Prosecutors are expected to wrap up this phase by mid-2014.

    Opposition troops closing in on Mazar-e-Sharif

    The Denver Post

    Last Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2013 | 8:52 PM MST

    (Reuters) - Opposition forces in northern Afghanistan appeared to be closing in on the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif Wednesday, with reports of smaller centers near the city being taken from Uzbek forces.

    An Afghan government spokesman says opposition troops have taken control of Shol Ghar, 50 kilometers from Mazar-e-Sharif, but the Uzbek Republic of Northern Afghanistan (URNA) has denied it has lost Shol Ghar. The URNA says it will move 500 new fighters to the area by the end of the week.

    The battle for Mazar-e-Sharif is seen as one of the most important elements of the campaign to restore stability in Afghanistan.
    The URNA captured Mazar-e-Sharif in 2001, shortly after the United States began military operations in the country to overthrow the Islamic fundamentalist government of the Taliban and bring Al-Qaeda terrorist Osama Bin Laden to justice after the Al-Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack in New York on September 11, 2001.

    However, the entry of former Soviet troops ultimately proved problematic for the American war effort and dealt a serious blow to stability in the region. As part of what would come to be known as the Crawford Accord, former U.S. President George Bush and former UIS President Vladimir Zhirinovsky reached an agreement for operations in Afghanistan in October of 2001 at the former’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. The agreement, which put UIS troops in charge of all military operations north of the 35th parallel, and NATO troops in charge of all military activity south of the 35th parallel, proved to be a major embarrassment for the American president and is widely cited as a major reason for his shocking 2004 defeat in the Republican primary race to former Michigan Governor John Engler.

    The Crawford Accord is widely cited as one of the major reasons for the disintegration of Afghanistan and is often cited as a major reason for the continuing civil war in Pakistan. Although former Northern Alliance commander and current Union of Tajikistan President Ahmad Shah Massoud has been successful in obtaining international recognition for the union of The Tajik Republic of Northern Afghanistan into the Republic of Tajikistan, URNA Supreme Commander Abdul Rashid Dostum has struggled due to frequent clashes with American, Russian, and Tajik forces inside of Afghanistan and numerous diplomatic blunders since declaring the independence of the Uzbek Republic of Northern Afghanistan in 2003. Although Afghan president Abdul Haq has indicated that the Republic of Afghanistan has the authority to conduct military operations in the breakaway republic, he claims that the revolt in the URNA is between Dostum and pro-Afghan factions of the Uzbek population. However, independent observers including the Red Crescent have reported that opposition forces widely appeared to be speaking Pashtu. U.S. Secretary of State Sam Nunn has indicated that there is evidence that the Taliban may also be a major factor in the resistance.

    Transcript from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, October 12, 2007

    Guest: Sasha Baron Cohen

    Stewart: (Laughing) So can we expect more from Borat?

    Cohen: I hope so. Maybe a sequel when Borat goes back home to Ghazbakia. Like, an entire movie filmed in Ghazbakia.

    Stewart: How in the world did you ever come up with the idea of the Republic of Ghazbakia?

    Cohen: Well, initially Borat was called Christo and he was from the Republic of Moldova. The early clips that I did on F2F had Christo the Moldavian. But then the Russians invaded Romania and suddenly nothing about Moldova was funny anymore. So I changed his birthplace to Kazakhstan in 1997 and changed his name to Borat. But then the Russians crushed the Kazak independence movement and committed some horrible war crimes there and suddenly Kazakhstan wasn’t funny anymore either. It was all over the news, and these news stations that I had been pulling these pranks on, well, all they wanted to talk about was the Taraz massacre and if I was ethnic Russian or Kazak.

    Stewart: So it seems like wherever Borat called home, the Russians would invade and destroy.

    Cohen: Yeah.

    Stewart: Let me ask you a favor.

    Cohen: Sure.

    Stewart: Don’t change Borat’s birthplace to New York City.

    (Audience laughter)

    Op-Ed Contributor

    Is the UN killing democracy in Russia?

    By William Gregg

    Published: June 15, 2013

    The Hague — When U.S. Ambassador to the UIS Jon Huntsman was attacked by an angry mob in Moscow last week the international community was in a justifiable outrage and applauded the actions of UIS President Alexander Lebed in storming the U.S. embassy and retaking control of the facility before we were forced to witness a repeat of the Iranian hostage crisis or the Polish embassy crisis. Many noted the professionalism of the Moscow Police, and the so called “Anti Terrorism Unit” of the UIS Federal Police Force. The quick and successful operation prompted Secretary of State Sam Nunn to thank the Russian government for “not going in with guns blazing as they had been apt to do under previous administrations,” a not so veiled insult at the former UIS President now standing trial for genocide in the Hague. It prompted President Lebed to coldly shoot back that the “professionalism” of the ATU-FPF was in large part due to the leadership of former President Zhirinovsky.

    However, it seems interesting that once again the international community just can’t seem to look past the obvious dictatorial tendencies of the Russian leadership because he’s “a heck of a lot better than the guy who came before him,” as former U.S. president George W. Bush once meekly stated in defense of the widely reviled Crawford Accord. Lebed is a dictator. He has never denied it. Sure he is not prone to wild outburst like his predecessor, but his actions, though muted, speak volumes about the type of man he is. Lebed seems to win over Western leaders not because he is truly an improvement, he’s not. If you think he is, ask those civilians killed in the conflict with Croatia in 2005 when the Croats tried to finally rid the Krajina of the Russians who were blatantly occupying this region of their nation. Lebed has had numerous opportunities to ditch the UIS, and allow the former Yugoslav republics of Montenegro and Serbia and those occupied regions of Croatia and Bosnia to decide for themselves if membership in the reviled UIS is worth the bloodshed. While Croatia is mired in poverty, she looks at her northern neighbor Slovenia, admitted to the EU in 2008 and NATO in 2009, as proof that the Russian leader is not an “improvement”. The UIS has become nothing more than a more intrusive and more genocidal version of the Warsaw Pact and Lebed has time and time again fought to keep the coalition in place. His recent attempts to “loosen the confederation” into a “Commonwealth of Independent States” rings hollow when one sees the Russian military intervention in the breakaway republic of Georgia two years ago. The international community, shell shocked from the disastrous reign of former president Zhirinovsky, has remained silent simply because Lebed is better able to keep the instability inside of the borders of the UIS, and he has yet to punch Tony Blair in the mouth, two things his predecessor was unable to do.

    Besides, there are still the conspiracy theorists in Russia who feel that Lebed was the one pulling the strings from the start.

    “Zhirinovsky was selected as leader of the Liberal Democratic Party by the KGB for one reason and one reason only,” former head of the KGB and perennial presidential candidate Vladimir Putin stated in an Interview with the BBC last year, “because he was easy to manipulate.”

    Many Russia experts wonder if Lebed was in fact the real power during the Zhirinovsky presidency, but most feel that Zhirinovsky was the one responsible for the war crimes.

    “There are two things Zhirinovsky knows well,” Former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev famously said in 2002, “how to act like a fool, and how to commit ethic cleansing. He was a master of creating ethnic strife.”

    So what can we expect from Russia and the UIS now? President Lebed earned international praise when he turned over Zhirinovsky to the International Court in 2008, but many observers feel that he is simply using the entire trial to shore up popular support. Since the arrest, radical right wing groups in the UIS have become increasingly violent, and Lebed is able to play off the fears of the international community in supporting his position. Any foreigner who walks through the streets of Moscow is bombarded with graffiti, signs, and flags often in English, promising that “vengeance will belong to the Russian people!” That one former presidential candidate for the Radical People’s Party was able to garner nearly twenty percent of the vote in the 2008 UIS presidential election on a platform of declaring war on The Netherlands shows the volatility of the state of affairs in Russia today. Russia today is truly one of the great tragedies of the 20th century. Had Russian president Boris Yeltsin not been shot during the failed Communist coup of 1991 perhaps Russia would have had a chance at democracy. But now it may be too late. A recent poll indicated that, inside Russia, over 60% of people view Zhirinovsky favorably. Up from less than 15% in January of 2003 when he was ousted.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  2. Jan Gronvik Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Keep it coming. :)
  3. sharlin Banned

    Jul 21, 2010
    Ooh very well written can't wait for more :)
  4. General Tirpitz Well-Known Member

    May 17, 2010
    The Kingdom of Finland
    Nice! I think this is just the second post-Soviet Russian TL I've seen here other being a story (which unfortunately died) where Gennady Zyuganov became a Russian president in the 1996 election. Please continue! :D
  5. Marko Well-Known Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Zagreb, Hrvatska/Croatia
    This is some grim stuff.
  6. Kammada Well-Known Member

    Jun 1, 2007
    But complete ASB. Zhirinovsky has always been a sockpuppet of Kremlin, no matter who was (and is) its occupier at the moment. And he's never shown any ambition for something greater.
  7. Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States
    I realize that any ATL where Zhirinovsky ends up as leader of Russia runs the risk of falling into ASB territory without careful research and work, but without giving away too many plot points, that very argument is going to be a constant theme of the ATL. People will constantly be asking is Zhirinovsky is really the man in charge, or if he is just a figurehead put in place by the KGB or Lebed to serve as cover, and an easily deportable boogie man, to take the heat for all of war crimes committed by the UIS. Note that although Putin claims that Zhirinovsky was in fact a KGB puppet, It was Gorby who countered that with claims that Zhirinovsky was infact a crazed madman. But since it was under Gorby's USSR that Zhirinovsky was first put in as head of the LDP, there is some self preservation to the statement. Does Gorbachev want to go down in history as Russia's Paul Von Hindenberg? The man who appointed the Russian Hitler into power? Still, in the coming posts, there will be a major POD during that 1991 Soviet Coup attempt that will create a major rift between the KGB and Zhirinovsky, to establish strong evidence in this ATL that Zhirinovsky did in fact break free of any ties that might have existed with the KGB or the old guard.
  8. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2009
    North Italy
    Seems good, naturally there is the fact that Afghanistan and the others Central asian republics are ok, but Romania and ex-Yugoslavia are a big no no. Invade an european country is a diplomatic clusterfuck of biblical proportion, the minor effect will be the rest of east europe go for NATO memberships immediately, no money for Russia from the west, START and the other cold war treaties will be history etc. etc. etc., and frankly in the post-communist situation of Russia i'm not even sure that the russian armed forces are capable of do it. A resurgent Russia will mean that the defence cut of the 90's are not a possibility and maybe China decide that an aggressive Russia must be checked and accelerate his modernization of her armed forces, muslim extremist decide that the russian bear is the new great satan so even more hilarity ensue
  9. Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States
    Double Post

    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
    Edward_Elric likes this.

    Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States
    The POD: August 18, 1991

    I won't do anything on the pre-August coup for Zhirinovsky or anything on his Presidential run in 1991 either since there won't be any POD there. The POD will come on August 18, 1991...


    60 Minutes on CBS News - “The Madman of Moscow?” from March 13, 1994

    Portions of a Mike Wallace interview with Valentin Pavlov, former Prime Minister of the Soviet Union.

    Courtesy of CBS

    Mike Wallace: Mr. Pavlov, I want to make sure I understand you correctly. You are saying that President Zhirinovsky was part of the failed 1991 August coup plot?

    Valentin Pavlov: He was aware of it.

    Wallace: By aware you mean collaborating?

    Pavlov: He was not part of the plot, but he knew it was coming. And he was supportive.

    Wallace: He supported the coup?

    Pavlov: Yes. He was going to openly support the coup. Up until the day of the coup, everything was going according to plan. It was arranged.

    Wallace: It seems rather incredible that one of the most virulent anti-communists in recent memory would be in support of a hard line communist coup.

    Pavlov: It was arranged.

    Wallace: But some critics are wondering about the timing of these accusations. With the recent Constitutional crisis in Russia and the elections last year, critics are wondering if this is just a political attack on the Russian President-

    Pavlov: The world needs to know. It was arranged.

    Wallace: So what went wrong? How did Zhirinovsky end up going from collaborator to champion of Russian democracy in three days?

    Pavlov: General Varennikov. That goddamned fool had to ruin everything.

    Excerpts from the book: Yeltsin, An Unfinished Life, by William Hinton.
    Published by Random House, © 2005.

    Chapter 4: The Rogue Stalinist

    What ultimately became clear after the final meeting of the planned “State Committee for the State of Emergency” (GKChP) in early August 1991 was that most of the coup plotters regarded the most serious threat to come from Yeltsin, and few paid little attention to the numerous inconsequential political parties that had competed in the 1991 Russian presidential elections. However, this indifference was hardly the unanimous consensus.

    “General Valentin Varennikov was one of the few veterans of the Great Patriotic War who was part of the coup,” commented Jack Matlock, former ambassador to the USSR, “and he was an unapologetic admirer of Joseph Stalin. He regarded the existence of a quasi-fascist party in the Soviet Union to be offensive, and he believed that since Stalin would hardly tolerate the existence of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, neither should he.”

    Although almost all of the members of the GKChP regarded Zhirinovsky as a mild irritant at best, the man who many in Russia would soon come to refer to as the “Rogue Stalinist” decided to take matters into his own hands when Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov and Vice President Gennady Yanayev seemed uninterested in taking any actions against Zhirinovsky.

    “Keep in mind that while General Varennikov was part of the coup, he was not a member of the GKChP,” added Matlock, “he had absolutely no knowledge of any plans involving Zhirinovsky, had there been any. He acted alone, and in the end, his acts led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

    UIS Presidential Candidate Vladimir Putin in an interview with the BBC on August 1, 2011

    Discussing his controversial statement that Russia would have been “better off” had the failed 1991 coup succeeded.

    Putin: He (General Varennikov) truly believed Zhirinovsky was a threat. He was a student of German history and in particular Germany in the years leading up to World War II. He knew that Adolf Hitler entered the National Socialist party as a mole, planted by the Government. No different than how Zhirinovsky became a member of the Liberal Democratic Party. He knew that from 1924 to 1930 Adolf Hitler had initially never garnered more than 7% of votes in an election. When Zhirinovsky won 8% of the votes in the 1991 election it terrified him. He truly believed that they needed to stop him.

    BBC: So it proved particularly tragic that his attempts to stop this madman ultimately became the catalyst that put him in power.

    Putin: Tragic, yes. But in the end history will judge General Varennikov as one of Russia’s great patriots. He was, after all, the one who first said that Russia was nursing a wolf cub. But sooner or later it will become a wild animal and woe to Russia if the wolf is still in its house when he reaches adulthood.

    Excerpts from the book “Three Days in Moscow” by Edward Ellis.
    Published by Random House © 1999

    Moscow, USSR. August 19, 1991. 1:15 A.M.

    Ultimately, there was little question that despite the fact that General Varennikov was head of all Soviet ground troops in the USSR, he elected to recruit only men he trusted directly with the arrest of the leaders of the independent political parties. Few questioned that he was deeply concerned that his actions would be discovered not only by supporters of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the military, but also by the members of the GKChP, who he feared might interpret his actions as a “coup inside a coup”.

    “It was foolish to send only four men to arrest as volatile a man as Vladimir Zhirinovsky,” commented one former aid to Varennikov, “and to send four Azeri soldiers into a Zhirinovsky political rally that had turned into an all night drinking party was beyond idiotic.”

    The order was to seize the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party at his home in the early morning, before he had a chance to process what was happening. But the mission started off poorly after the lone soldier who received the order, Corporal Vahid Hasinov received a phone call shortly past midnight to arrest Zhirinovsky at his home.

    “Corporal Hasinov was an obvious choice for the General to call since the General was not in Moscow but in Foros when he finally decided to unilaterally arrest Zhirinovsky,” commented another former Varennikov aid, “Hasinov served under General Varennikov in Kabul two years previously when the General was the personal representative of the Soviet Defense Minister. He could have been able to convince the Corporal of his identity over the phone, that this wasn’t some sort of joke.”

    Many argued that General Varennikov may have in fact planned to arrest Zhirinovsky days earlier but had been fearful of revealing his plan too early. Regardless, it proved catastrophic for his plans when the young Corporal had trouble convincing his fellow troops that the order was legitimate.

    It was noted in General Varennikov’s trial three years later that members of the Corporal's unit testified seeing him arguing with three other soldiers in Azeri for nearly three hours before the four men left in the early morning.

    Most believe that the order to arrest Zhirinovsky required Corporal Hasinov to maintain secrecy, even from fellow members of his unit. As a result, many historians believe that it was for this reason that Hasinov selected Private Orucov, Private Salahov, and Private Khanmammadov to help him carry out the order. As the only other men in his unit who were fluent in Azeri, they could have discussed the order without fear of other soldiers overhearing the discussion.

    By the time they had reached the Zhirinovsky home, over three hours had passed since the order was issued and nobody had bothered to confirm if the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party was even home. As fate would have it, Zhirinovsky had attended a small political rally the night before near Gor’kiy Park and never left.

    “Early on many Zhirinovsky rallies involved a lot of vodka,” commented Lieutenant Vitali Vaulin, who was present at the Gor’kiy Park rally on August 18, 1991, “and often we would spend the entire night drinking and cursing the f-----g Chechens, and Jews, and all the other goddamned trash that we were told for seventy years were our f-----g comrades.”

    Reports would later indicate that when the Corporal Hasinov and the other three Azeri troops discovered that Zhirinovsky wasn’t at home, they started to panic. They began to pound on the doors of neighbors and grabbed pedestrians demanding to know the whereabouts of Zhirinovsky.

    “Undoubtedly they were scared of telling General Varennikov,” commented one neighbor, “because they looked terrified when they discovered he was not home.”

    When they finally discovered the whereabouts of Zhirinovsky, and that he was across Moscow at Gor’kiy Park, nearly five hours had passed since the order had come in, and the General himself had already seized Gorbachev in the President’s dacha in Crimea.

    “The coup was already underway when those poor men stumbled into that rally at Gor’kiy Park just past six in the morning," commented a lieutenant who served with the four men, "they were tired and perhaps blind to the scene that had surrounded them."

    “When we saw those four Azeri pigs walk into our rally…well all two hundred of us wanted to tear them apart right then and there,” commented Vaulin, who in turn would fire the first shot of what Zhirinovsky would call the second Russian Revolution, “and then they opened their f-----g mouths.”

    “Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky,” Corporal Hasinov said to the man standing on the podium, “you are under arrest for treason.”
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  11. Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States

    True, but keep in mind that in this ATL Zhirinovsky takes power right after the fall of the USSR in 1991. So he may be able to maintain an aura of Russian might that gives him more leverage than had he taken power in 1996 or so. Russia lost much of its international prestige in regards to its superpower status from 1991-1996 due to Chechen war among other things. But in 1991 it still carried enough clout to intimidate the west to an extent. Not enough to vioalte NATO and invade the west, but perhaps enough to convince a few of the less hawkish western European leaders to regard the Iron curtain as still being in place and to respond to a Russian invasion of a former Warsaw pact county as something that shouldn't prompt agressive action. Could a Zhrinovsky Russia prompt the EEC to postpone recognition of an independent Croatia in 1992 (it had already been postponed once)? Much of the seeds of Romanian and Yugoslavian intervention will be planted in 1992. My biggest issue, and one I agree with you on 100%, is the clear problem of a badly degraded Russian military in the early 1990s. How Russia will overcome this to wage wars on multiple fronts in a challange, I admit.
  12. lukedalton Well-Known Member

    Dec 13, 2009
    North Italy
    The problem is that by that time the URSS is not so feared, between Desert Storm, Afghanistan and the dissolution of the Warsaw pact the military image of the Soviet Union as taken a terrible beat...sure it's still had nuclear weapons and so it's still a great power and really dangerous but her armed forces seem to be open to be bought and after all not so terrible. Romania can be done, if the attack is limited, the invasion only of the russian part of Moldova and more importantly quick...but it will still create an enourmous diplomatic nightmare, as for achieve what you want (more pliable NATO and EU) you need a Zhirinosky who is the lost brother of Nixon not the thug he is, it's more probable that he will scare off the rest of Europe in rearming.
    Frankly i see this new Russia as basically an enlarged version of North Korea, with a lot of the meager resources go to the military that keep the leader in power, massive personality cult, border closed...the usual sheningas; the only ally he will get will be the others pariah state (NK, Burma and Cuba).
    Regarding Yugoslavia, well no, if he try something of so blatant and so near the NATO/EU he basically ask to be attacked; the west can't permit this kind of thing in the heart of Europe by an Hitler or Stalin wannabe, expecially if he seem to want bring back the Warsaw Pact by force.
  13. Threadmarks: PART TWO - THE LAST SOVIET

    Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States


    Screenplay of the Russian film “Birth of a Nation” (“Рождение нация”) (1995)[1]

    16. EXT. THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC RALLY AT GORKY PARK, MORNING As the crowd of five hundred stand around the makeshift stage and podium, we see VLADIMIR ZHIRINOVSKY standing at the podium reading from a prepared speech.

    ZHIRINOVSKY (yelling)
    For too long the Russian people were denied our rights, our freedoms! But the time for change is upon us. The Bolsheviks are running scared comrades! They are scared of you! Of the freedom loving Russian who knows that his voice can no longer be silenced.

    Pan to various face shots of adoring onlookers. Several are nodding their heads in approval.

    17. EXT. Ulitsa Krymskiy Val- MORNING We see a car driving recklessly down the street swerving wildly as it comes to a screeching halt near the front gate of Gorky Park. As it stops an OLD RUSSIAN WOMAN walking down the sidewalk looks disapprovingly as four men step out of the car. The men are dressed in Soviet military uniforms, but are badly disheveled and visibly drunk. One of the men, CORPRAL HASINOV, is holding a vodka bottle. In the background we can hear the voice of ZHIRINOVSKY on a speaker.

    For shame. What kind of soldiers are you?

    HASINOV stumbles up to the old woman and slaps her across the face, knocking her down.

    Ha! Old pig!

    ORUCOV, SALAHOV, and KHANMAMMADOV all laugh at the old woman. HASINOV spits on her as they stumble towards the rally.

    18. EXT. THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC RALLY AT GORKY PARK, MORNING ZHIRINOVSKY is still speaking to the crowd when machine gun fire stops him in mid sentence. We see HASINOV, ORUCOV, SALAHOV, and KHANMAMMADOV stumble through the crowd, which parts like the Red Sea to clear room for the drunken soldiers. ORUCOV is holding his Kalashnikov in the air. HASINOV throws his vodka bottle to the ground, shattering it.

    Are you the traitorous pig Vladimir Volfovich Zhirinovsky?

    ZHIRINOVSKY (standing firm)
    I am he.

    You are under arrest for treason.

    The crowd begins to stir restlessly and we hear them begin to protest.

    ZHIRINOVSKY (addressing HASINOV)
    I can assure you, that there are no traitors here except you…and the filth you brought with you!

    HASINOV looks at ZHIRINOVSKY with visible anger and contempt. He lifts his rifle to shoot ZHIRINOVSKY, prompting LT. VAULIN, who is standing in the crowd, to tackle HASINOV before he can fire a shot. ORUCOV, SALAHOV, and KHANMAMMADOV immediately raise their rifles and begin firing into the crowd. We see women and children falling from the gunfire as the crowd scream in horror.

    ZHIRINOVSKY (addressing the crowd) Comrades! We have been betrayed!

    [1] Showings and/or performances of this film is prohibited by the British Board of Film Censors. This film is currently banned in the following countries: United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Poland, Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Hungary.

    Witness recounts the events at Gorky Park during coup

    Der Spiegel
    August 19, 2001

    Interviewer’s notes: Der Spiegel interview with Alex Artemiev

    DS: So you were among the hundreds who attended the Zhirinovsky rally on August 18th and 19th?

    Artemiev: It wasn’t hundreds. It was about thirty. And most of them were just there for the free vodka.

    DS: Free vodka?

    Artemiev: Yes. Vodka. Zhirinovsky used to promise free vodka to all Russians or some silly thing like that. I was walking past the park with some friends and I heard him on the loud speaker. We didn’t pay him any attention, until we heard something about free vodka. Then we stopped.

    DS: Then what happened?

    Artemiev: We walked into the tent and started drinking.

    DS: So were you a supporter of Mr. Zhirinovsky?

    Artemiev: No. I actually thought he was something of a buffoon. But when I got there it seemed like a fun party. Even Zhirinovsky was drunk.

    DS: What about when Corporal Hasinov came to arrest Zhirinovsky that morning?

    Artemiev: Well, I remember seeing him walk into the tent with three other soldiers. They looked frightened at first, and I remember seeing one of them grab Hasinov’s arm, as if to stop him. But he mumbled something to that soldier and broke his arm free and walked up to Zhirinovsky.

    DS: Was Zhirinovsky speaking to the crowd?

    Artemiev: No. Most of the people were passed out. The only people who were not were me and one of my friends, Alexey Osokin, and of course Lieutenant Vaulin and some of his friends at the other side of the tent. Zhirinovsky was pretty drunk and sitting on a chair, nearly passed out.

    DS: What happened then?

    Artemiev: Well, Hasinov walked up to Zhirinovsky and whispered in his ear. But Zhirinovsky didn’t move.

    DS: Then what happened?

    Artemiev: He started to softly shake Zhirinovsky to wake him up.

    DS: Did Zhirinovsky acknowledge him at that point?

    Artemiev: No. So he started shaking him harder. That woke him up.

    DS: What happened next?

    Artemiev: He said something to Zhirinovsky right as Vaulin noticed that he was shaking
    Zhirinovsky somewhat forcefully. That’s when the incident started.

    DS: Did Zhirinovsky respond?

    Artemiev: Yes. He said, and I remember this clearly, he said ‘I’ve been betrayed!”

    DS: I’ve?

    Artemiev: Yes. ‘I’ve been betrayed.’ Singular.

    Excerpts from the book: “The Last Soviet: A Biography of Vahid Hasinov” by Mary Kerr.

    Published by University of California Press, © 2010.

    Chapter V: “The Troublemaker”

    Much of the goodwill Corporal Hasinov earned from his time serving in Afghanistan ultimately was lost when he became a vocal supporter of Azerbaijani rights in Germany. In one of the few known and authenticated letters written by Hasinov during his time in Germany he described the deteriorating relationship between the conscripts and the mostly Slavic officers.

    “We are becoming aware of what we were, not just as soldiers, but as Azeris,” Hasinov wrote, “we don’t see ourselves as Soviets anymore. I see the various ethnic groups sticking together and distancing themselves from the Russians.”

    It was in this heightened climate that Hasinov garnered the attention of his superiors.

    “It was clear that the Russian officers were angry that they were losing Germany and Eastern Europe,” Hasinov wrote, “but they seemed oblivious to the fact that they are still occupying Azerbaijan. I took part in a protest organized by a fellow Azeri. We decided to boycott a planned Soviet referendum, we didn’t want any part of it as long as our country was occupied.”

    It was a protest that proved costly for the young Corporal and is widely seen as one of the reasons he was stationed in Moscow in August of 1991 as opposed to with the Soviet 4th Army, which by 1991 was the primary Soviet military force in Azerbaijan, and the one unit that was almost entirely Azerbaijani.

    “They tried to make us march to the polling station to vote,” another Azeri soldier who took part in the protest in Germany (and who asked to remain unidentified) recounted years later, “but we stood firm. We Azeris had promised each other we wouldn't vote in any Soviet referendum, so we refused the order.”

    The incident caused a backlash against Hasinov, who admitted to a friend in Germany that he knew that the commanders considered him “a problem”. But others noted that it went beyond his refusal to vote, but his determination to protect the rights of his fellow Azeris and demand equal treatment for them.

    “There was a lot of racism from the officers,” added the soldier who served with Hasinov in Germany, “they'd call any soldier from the Caucasus a black ass. When Hasinov made those same officers beg him to cooperate, it all but sealed his fate. I think they never forgot that, and they never forgave him.”

    Old Soviet military records on Corporal Hasinov have proved extremely unreliable, but most historians do agree that the protest was the deciding factor in sending Hasinov to Moscow after the Soviets pulled out of Germany.

    After “Black January” in the early part of 1990 in Baku there was no way the Soviets would send a difficult Azeri soldier there,” stated a Soviet officer who was familiar with Hasinov, “so he was sent to Moscow as part of a construction unit in October of 1990. Unit 600.”

    From CNN’s twenty-four episode television documentary Cold War.
    © 1998
    Courtesy of CNN

    Episode 24: “Conclusions

    Former NBC Moscow reporter Bob Abernethy:

    “It was ironic that Hasinov even stayed as long as he did in Moscow. Many of the Azeri soldiers were abandoning ship, going AWOL. Some were going home and taking part in the increasingly volatile war between the Azeris and the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Others were just leaving and going home. The myth of the Soviet Army had collapsed from the inside out. But for whatever reason, Hasinov decided to stay put...the last Soviet. Until he received the call from General Varennikov.

    Excerpts from the book “Three Days in Moscow” by Edward Ellis.
    Published by Random House © 1999

    Moscow, USSR. August 19, 1991. 6:22 A.M.

    Although many historians dispute the size of the crowd at Gor’kiy Park on August 19, 1991, there is no dispute as to the issue of sobriety. After drinking all night, those who were present were volatile, drunk, and, for at least a handful, looking for a fight. The arrival of Hasinov, Orucov, Salahov, and Khanmammadov proved to be the spark that ignited the second Russian Revolution. Hasinov’s attempts to arrest Zhirinovsky prompted a violet response from a young Russian officer named Lieutenant Vitali Vaulin, an avowed extreme nationalist who himself would subsequently be tried for war crimes in The Hague in 2005.

    “I couldn’t’ believe those four black asses thought they could just walk into our rally and expect us to do nothing,” Vaulin would say in an interview with a Finnish newspaper in 1996, “and to not even tell us who issued the order?!”

    Most witnesses confirmed that Vaulin, who outranked the four Azeris, demanded they identify who issued the order. When Hasinov refused to disclose that information, Vaulin responded by issuing his own order for the four men to leave Zhirinovsky alone.

    “During this entire incident, Zhirinovsky was cowering next to the podium like a deer in the road,” commented Alex Artemiev, a witness to the event, “he looked catatonic with fear.”

    As the incident became louder and more volatile, it had the unintended consequence of awaking other Zhirinovsky supporters. One observer noted from the insignia on the uniform of the four men that they were from Construction Unit 600, a revelation that had the effect of electrifying the crowd even further.

    “We knew that there was no way the government would send four enlisted Azeri construction workers to arrest Zhirinovsky,” commented Vladimir Bakatin, a Zhirinovsky supporter who was present at the rally. “And we also knew than many Azeris were abandoning the Soviet army and selling whatever they could on the black market. We had no reason to believe a word these men said. We thought they were mafia. Gangsters. Looking to try and kidnap our leader and take him to Baku for ransom.”

    History would go on to argue over who fired the first shot in what many Russian nationalists call “The Battle of Gor’kiy Park.”

    “The little one, Salahov, he got scared,” commented Bakatin, “and that’s when he took a shot at Vaulin.”

    “Vaulin and Hasinov were arguing about who gave the order to arrest Zhirinovsky,” countered Artemiev, “and Vaulin kept screaming that Hasinov was disobeying a direct order by not leaving. That’s when Vaulin lifted his rifle and shot Salahov in the stomach.”

    By most accounts the firefight lasted just twenty seconds before Hasinov, Salahov and Orucov fled. Salahov, who received a gunshot wound to his abdomen, would die the following day at the hospital. Although the number of casualties at Gor’kiy Park is a matter of fierce debate, with Russian nationalists claiming upwards of a hundred Zhirinovsky supporters killed (most independent observes have the number at two), what was undisputed was that as tanks rolled into Red Square and the radio began blaring the declaration by the "Emergency Committee" that it had taken power, Private Khanmammadov lay dead at the feet of Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  14. Tongera Well-Known Member

    Apr 24, 2012
    Bristol, Great Britain
    I want to read about his rule of the Soviet Union, it will be interesting.
    Konrad Sartorius likes this.
  15. whitecrow Banned

    Jan 12, 2011
    I will follow this TL

    Will this guy also make an appearance in the TL?

  16. Nonfiction Active Member

    Apr 10, 2008
    Love it, more!
  17. Spengler Free AG! Banned

    Oct 12, 2007
    Minnesota in the Place of Mayo
    I want to see where this goes.
  18. lucaswillen05 Well-Known Member

    Jan 11, 2012
    Oooh a Mad Vlad timeline. I wonder what hois policies on former Yugoslavia and, in particular the Kossovo War will be. In OTL there was a nasty incident at the airport which, had Mad Vlad been in charge rather than Yeltsin could well have got out of hand.
  19. Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States
    Most likely

    There are quite a few LDP members who defected in the early to mid 90s who in this TL with Zhirinovsky in power, tough it out longer. He may very well be one of them...
  20. Threadmarks: PART THREE - "HIS FINEST HOUR"

    Pellegrino Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010
    United States
    Part Three - "His Finest Hour"


    New York Times
    Gorbachev ousted in apparent coup
    By Alice Kaufman


    August 19, 1991

    New York Times
    by Alice Kaufman

    MOSCOW, Monday, August 19- Mikhail S. Gorbachev was apparently ousted from power today by hard-line KGB and military factions of the Communist Party while he was vacationing in the distant Crimea.

    The announcement by the self-proclaimed “Soviet leadership” came as Mr. Gorbachev was about to announce a new union treaty, which would have ushered in a new era of power-sharing between the various Soviet republics.

    The announcement this morning shocked the nation and left it desperate for information as Kremlin officials declared a state of emergency. The apparent ousting of president Gorbachev, six years into his "perestroika" reform program, came a mere three days after his former ally and reform adviser, Aleksandr Yakovlev, resigned from the Communist Party, warning of a potential coup d’état.

    Tass, the Soviet news agency, cited “health reasons” which rendered Mr. Gorbachev's unable to perform his duties as President as the reason for his removal.

    Tass also reported that Vice President Gennady I. Yanayev was assuming presidential powers under a newly proclaimed entity called the State Committee for the State of Emergency. The committee is also made up of Vladimir A. Kryuchkov, chief of the K.G.B., and Dmitri T. Yazov, the Defense Minister.

    The scene on the streets of Moscow was calm at 6 A.M. when the announcement was made. However, there have been unconfirmed reports of violence at a political rally for an opposition leader. Early reports indicate that military attempts to arrest Liberal Democratic Party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky were met with fierce opposition from anti-communist factions of the Soviet military, forcing troops to withdraw.

    Excerpts from the book: Yeltsin, An Unfinished Life, by William Hinton.
    Published by Random House, © 2005.

    Chapter 12: His Finest Hour

    As soon as Yeltsin realized that the coup was in fact happening he gathered a handful of his closest advisers and rallied at the Soviet White House. Among the supporters with him that morning were top adviser Gennady Burbulis, Sergei Filatov, Mikhail Arutyunov (a deputy in the Russian Parliament), and General Viktor Ivanenko, head of the Russian KGB.

    When Yeltsin and his inner circle arrived at the White House, they discovered crowds of supporters already starting to gather around. When the first tanks rumbled up about an hour later they were met by a large crowd of several hundred.

    “At first we came out to defend our government," said Konstantin Truyevtsev, a student who was among those surrounding the White House, “but second to defend Yeltsin. We started hearing about the failed attempt to seize Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and we were determined to show the KGB and the military that we also would fight to protect our President.”

    Gennady Burbulis would go on to say years later that the presence of General Ivanenko proved to be most important for the anti-coup movement.

    “Earlier that year Yeltsin had succeeded in creating a separate Russian KGB,” Burbulis would say in an interview in 2011, “And it was headed by General Viktor Ivanenko, whose loyalty to Boris Yeltsin was very, very strong.”

    Ivanenko immediately began undermining the coup plotters and rallying support from inside the KGB.

    “From the moment we arrived at the White House, Ivanenko was in my office and on the phone,” Burbulis said, "for three days he remained on the phone. He made call after call to his fellow officers, to the very people who would make or break the coup."

    Besides Ivanenko, other Yeltsin supporters worked to bring military commanders over to the president’s side.

    Sergei Filatov organized groups that were sent to army bases and military academies around Moscow to persuade commanders not to obey orders to seize Yeltsin.

    “I am not sure how vigorously and aggressively they would have pushed this had it not been for the failed seizure of Zhirinovsky.” US Ambassador Jack Matlock said about the supporters of Boris Yeltsin, “They heard the rumors about the Gorky Park incident and they realized that some soldiers were actively in revolt against the coup, and they decided to capitalize on it, with great success.”

    “In 1991 I didn’t know a single person who liked Vladimir Zhirinovsky,” Gennady Burbulis said, “and so it was very reassuring to us that the Soviet military was unwilling or unable to arrest that man. If they met resistance there, imagine what would happen if they tried to arrest Yeltsin?”

    In the end, both General Ivanenko and Sergei Filatov did succeed in rallying large groups of the military and KGB to support Yeltsin and the opposition.

    “What Ivanenko and Filatov did was succeed in creating an anti-coup faction that had stuck their neck out for Boris Yeltsin,” Jack Matlock would say years later, “they couldn’t turn back after supporting the Russian President. So when something happened to Yeltsin, well, they needed to find someone else to rally around because the fear was that the only thing waiting for them on the other side was a firing squad.”

    New light shed on 1991 anti-Gorbachev coup



    August 15, 2012

    It has been 20 years since the coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Though the coup failed, new BBC interviews underline how fragile Gorbachev’s hold on power had become - and how strong opposition to the Communist Party had become not only with average Russians, but with many inside the party itself.

    Although Mr. Gorbachev faced the emergence of a powerful pro-reform opponent in Boris Yeltsin, a former political protégé who had become Russian president, opposition to the coup also came from inside the KGB and military.

    “I was shocked when I learned that Yeltsin had been able to organize so much of the military to support him,” Mr Gorbachev said, “but it shouldn’t have surprised me. He wanted a dictatorship. He just expected that he would be the head of it. Not Vladimir Zhirinovsky.”

    Looking back, Mr Gorbachev cannot conceal his bitterness towards Yeltsin.

    "I made a mistake," Mr Gorbachev told the BBC, "I should have got rid of him. It was because of Yeltsin that events unfolded as they did."

    To this day, Mr Gorbachev blames Yeltsin’s “cronies” for handing the reigns of the country to Mr Zhirinovsky.

    “Gorbachev: The calm before the storm” can be seen globally, on BBC World News at 09:30 and 21:30 GMT on Saturday 20 August (check BBC World News TV schedules for local screening times).

    Excerpts from the book “Three Days in Moscow” by Edward Ellis.
    Published by Random House © 1999

    Moscow, USSR. August 19, 1991.11:22 A.M.

    As Yeltsin and his supporters strengthened their position in the White House, a sense of overconfidence would lead Yeltsin to tragically make the mistake that would lead to the emergence of Vladimir Zhirinovsky as undisputed leader of Russia. Right before lunch a young Yeltsin aid would come rushing in from the street with a curious report.

    “This young boy ran into Yeltsin's office to inform him that some of the soldiers had gotten out of their tanks and were talking with the people in the crowd,” Gennady Burbulis would recount, “and Yeltsin, inspired by the support he was receiving from the people outside and the support General Ivanenko had been able to obtain inside the military and the KGB decided to go out there.”

    It was a decision that was met with fierce opposition from Burbulis.

    “I tried to talk him out of it, to tell him there could be snipers, but he refused to stand down,” Burbulis recalled, “and sadly, I think he let the reports of the Gorky Park incident influence him too much. He didn’t want to be seen as less courageous than Zhirinovsky.”

    It would go on to become of the most tragic moments in recent Russian history. With television cameras rolling, Yeltsin shook hands with the tank crew and then climbed up on top of the tank. Once a symbol of Soviet oppression, for a few moments it became a symbol of hope and of freedom. Yeltsin stood facing the crowds as security personnel and close supporters rushed up along side him to protect him. Yeltsin waited just a moment before looking down at a short, prepared speech. It was a call for the “citizens of Russia” to oppose the coup and stand firm.

    “I really think that if he had the opportunity to give that speech, if he could have just been able to speak to the Russian people, that we would be living in a different country today,” Burbulis said many years later, “a democratic country.”

    A single shot from a sniper struck Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the chest, killing him instantly.

    Former Russian KGB Director Victor Ivanenko in 2010.

    Gennady Burbulis during a 2011 interview, recounting the 1991 failed coup

    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017