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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hardliners Gather to Mark Coup

Opposition leaders are joining forces with the plotters of the August 1991 coup to ride what they believe is a popular wave of support for the restoration of the Soviet Union.

Capitalising on the media interest surrounding the third anniversary of the coup this weekend and General Valentin Varennikov's recent acquittal from charges of treason for his part in the coup, hardliners are sending out a strongly nationalistic message.

Anatoly Lukyanov, the former Soviet parliament chairman, called Friday for the restoration of the Soviet Union saying that the people would accept nothing less.

"We shall not retreat in guarding the interests of our motherland, the Soviet Union, our people and socialism. We shall not retreat," he said to a crowd of some 50 mourners gathered at Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev's grave at Troyekurovskoye cemetery.

Praising Akhromeyev, one of the three coup plotters who committed suicide when the coup collapsed, as "a great communist, patriot and soldier," Lukyanov called people to remember him as a patriot who wanted "all countries of the Soviet Union to remain within our army and our motherland."

Fellow conspirator Varennikov spoke in the same vein later in the day saying the coup plotters only aim was to uphold the Soviet Constitution and Soviet law.

Varennikov has given his backing to the Soyuz movement, a cross-party movement which is campaigning for the return of a single strong state, whether the Soviet Union or a Greater Russia.

Varennikov angrily denied the plotters actions hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union, arguing that it was the illegal arrest of himself and his fellow conspirators that precipitated it.

Activists are planning events throughout the weekend to mark the third anniversary of the coup, with a requiem meeting outside the White House on Saturday evening from 9 P.M. to 11.30 P.M. and a procession in memory of those who died defending the White House during the 1991 coup at the intersection of the New Arbat and the Garden Ring.