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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Victims of '93 Standoff Mourned

"We will live our whole lives in the midst of that horrible October."


Yury Shumsky, whose 19-year-old son was killed in the violence at the Ostankino television center in October 1993, could not hold back tears as he addressed a gathering of journalists and fellow mourners at the Peace and Accord Foundation Monday evening.


The meeting was organized by the foundation to commemorate those who lost their lives in the bitter confrontation between the president and the legislature in September-October 1993. The foundation's president is Alexander Rutskoi, who played an integral part in the tragic October events that claimed the lives of well over 100.


Rutskoi was present, dressed in black and looking somber as bereaved mothers wept and railed at those who had killed their children.


"We are gathered here, two years after the fact, to honor the memory of those whose courage did not fail them, who came at the tragic moments when the fate of the country was being decided, and stood with us to the end," he said.


Rutskoi spoke against a backdrop of photographs of the dead; an icon stood on a black-draped table, a candle burning in front of it. Throughout the speeches dirge-like music was playing in the hall.


It was Rutskoi whose fiery exhortation from the balcony of the White House to "take Ostankino" began the chain of violence on Oct. 3, 1993.


Rutskoi, whose nationalist party, Derzhava, is mounting a campaign for the parliamentary elections, lost no time in lashing out at his opponents, who include a broad swath of Russia's politicians.


He termed the president "scum" and "a drunkard," but the opposition fared no better.


"If you have a monstrous government, you have a monstrous opposition," he said.


He had bitter words, not untinged with jealousy, for the popular General Alexander Lebed:


"You turn on the television and he's everywhere, but Rutskoi has disappeared from the screen," he complained.


He reserved special criticism for the list of the 10 most influential politicians in Russia broadcast once a month on the news program "Itogi." September's list included Lebed, Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov, liberal democrat Grigory Yavlinsky, and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.


"It should be called the top 10 traitors in the country," he said.


Books by and about Rutskoi adorned tables in the lobby; Rutskoi presented his new work, "Bloody Autumn," about the October events, and said all proceeds from the book would be given to the families of those killed.


The anniversary of the routing of the parliament provided more than one politician with an opportunity to be seen. Zyuganov turned up at a picket on Pushkin Square, bowing in front of photographs of the deceased. "This should never happen again," he was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.


The approximately 200 hardliners who showed up for the demonstration were effusive in their response to the Communist leader, reaching out to him and crying, "We are with you."


The Congress of Russian Communities, led by Lebed, circulated a statement through Interfax on Monday apportioning blame vaguely across the political spectrum.


"All Russian politicians who brought the country close to the edge of civil war for the sake of their own ambitions are to blame for the black September-October pages in the history of our country," it said.