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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Readers Share Their Thoughts on the '91 Coup

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In response to "10 Years of What?" a column by Boris Pankin, Aug. 17.


Boris Pankin presents a fascinating account of events in Prague when he was confronted by news of the attempted coup. I was teaching an advanced English workshop for professors and graduate students at the University of West Bohemia in Plzen (a few hours west of Prague) when the coup took place, and quickly we were seeing CNN live reports of the coup in English, but very loudly dubbed over into Czech so that the English was drowned out completely.

My Czech "students" quickly became the near-simultaneous translators from Czech back into English.

One factual correction: The Velvet Revolution was in November 1989 not in 1990.

Karen Fox
St. Petersburg

In response to "Communists Appeal to the Secret Police," by Oksana Yablokova, Aug. 21.


I am appalled by this appeal to the secret police by the present members of the Communist Party. Unleashing the police against anything or anybody releases a monster known to slay millions. How could anyone be so willfully ignorant of ones' own history?

Daniel Duane Spyker
Detroit, Michigan

In response to "Stalin Does Not Deserve Stalingrad," an editorial, Aug. 23.


The problem is not Stalin but the Communist Party and ideology as a whole. Stalinism is the result of social structures built by the Communist Party and the crimes committed during Stalin's reign. Millions of Russians — Communists and non-Communists — participated in one way or another. So the real aim of Gennady Zyuganov is the rehabilitation of the Communist Party by the rehabilitation of Stalin, who was without doubts the most "successful" Communist ruler in history.

Miguel Grossmann

In response to "Expats Remember the Days of the August Coup," by Andrew Formanek, Aug. 21.


I do not recall telling Andrew Formanek that "most of [the tanks] didn't even make it to the center" of Moscow on the first day of the 1991 coup. If I did, then, of course, I was exaggerating.

Yes, a few broke down en route and were parked on the side of the road from Vnukovo. That was a sight in itself but not nearly as impressive as the dozens (hundreds?) of the things that did reach the city center.

Marcus Warren

In response to "Zimbabwe's White Farmers Face Upsurge in Violence," an article by Reuters, Aug. 14.


The embassy would like to correct the misleading article that portrays Zimbabwe as a racist and lawless society bent on persecuting white commercial farmers and destroying their property.

First and foremost, the violence that occurred in and around Chinhoyi started when about 60 white commercial farmers ganged up and brutally assaulted defenseless, legally resettled black commercial farmers in that area. This unacceptable development was further exacerbated by retaliatory attacks and subsequent looting of farm property and equipment by elements, in some cases, embittered farm laborers and, in others downright criminals. The law is taking its course without fear, favor or discrimination. Already 23 white commercial farmers have appeared before the courts charged with public violence while more than 40 people have been arrested for looting and destroying property.

As much as these regrettable incidents have outraged peace-loving Zimbabweans who would like to see land reform unfold in an environment of peace, it is important to place these developments in a wide perspective. The Zimbabwe government is concerned that events of the past weeks, while appearing sporadic and confined to a few areas in one province, Chinhoyi and Mhangura, could very easily replicate or reignite in other areas and provinces facing acute land pressures.

The allegation that the ruling ZANU party through President Robert Mugabe has sanctioned "the invasion" of white owned commercial farms should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. Our liberation struggle was for the recovery of land forcibly taken away from the black majority during the colonial era. The so-called invasions were peaceful demonstrations by the landless Zimbabweans at the slow pace of land redistribution. It is unfortunate that during these demonstrations there were casualties on both sides. Surprisingly there is no mention of any black casualties leaving one wondering whether the element of race is the crucial factor.

Brigadier A.M. Mutumbara (Rtd.)
Ambassador, Zimbabwe Embassy

Live the Reality

In response to "The Melting Pot," a series of letters on Aug. 17.


As an Australian on an extended stay in Moscow and a regular reader of your paper, I find that many of your overseas readers in their letters to the editor are inclined to be overly patriotic, nationalistic and sometimes even racist when they debate the ethnic composition of Russia. The Russians I have met in Moscow don't seem to be quite as alarmed as those Russians that chose to live overseas.

In response to Michael Rienzi, Portland, Maine, the solution to Russia's population problems might lie in less Slavic people moving overseas to live with the Anglo-Saxons. To make judgement and pass comment from outside is easy. To live the reality is quite different.

Neil Roberson