GORBACHEV: [Speaking through Interpreter] A question has been asked
in such a clearly way that I can only answer it equally clearly and
definitely. If you set the task before the Supreme Soviet and the government
of the Russian federation and even before other Supreme Soviets of driving
socialism from the territory of the Soviet Union we will never succeed
in accomplishing such a task. This is just another way of carrying on
a crusade or religious war at the present time.
Socialism, as I understand it, is a type of
conviction which people have and we are not the only ones that have
it. But it exists in other countries, not only today but at other times.
And we have declared here freedom of conviction, freedom of belief.
And if we start to do what I say - - no, no, no, you just listen to
what I have to say.
LEGISLATOR: [Speaking through Interpreter] Mikhail Sergeivich, we haven't
heard about any practical measures other than some new appointments.
We haven't heard anything about the question of property or other matters.
PRES. GORBACHEV: [Speaking through Interpreter] First of all I do not
agree with you. I sense that the whole point was that at this stage
we now directly realize what goals we have to pursue to reach a new
life. We have to sign the union treaty. We have to have an anti-crisis
program, a food program, a fuel program. The finances have to be stabilized.
We have to do all of these things. In order to do this, we must have
a major regrouping of forces, a new legislator and executive which will
take on themselves responsibility which would have confidence, who will
solve all these problems.
BORIS YELTSIN, President, Russia: [Speaking through Interpreter] The
question of property was raised. I'd like to remind you that we during
these events have agreed that if you do not take a decision on conveying
the property on the territory of Russia to the Russian jurisdiction
that the President of Russia would do that by issuing a decree to that
effect. I on the 20th of this month did sign such a decree, but you
today said that you would sign a decree confirming all of my decrees.
GORBACHEV: [Speaking through Interpreter] I do not think that you have
tried to put me in a trap by bringing me here, no, I do not think that.
Let me confirm once again that the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation
and the President and its government in these extremely difficult situations
acted the way they did and what they did was dictated by the situation
and therefore has the force of law and has to be confirmed by the President
even post facto everything that concerns the question of carrying out
the union treaty or implementing the union treaty, as we have discussed
this with Boris Nikolaivich, and I hereby confirm this.
YELTSIN: [Speaking through Interpreter] Comrades, how about the decree
on cessation of activity of the Russian Communist Party? [Applause]
And the decree is hereby signed.
PRES. GORBACHEV: [Speaking through Interpreter] Wait a minute. It was
not the whole Communist Party of record that participated in this plot
and supported it. Therefore, if it is determined that the Russian Committee
or some other provincial committee were in solidarity with this committee,
the coup plotters, then I would support such a decree. But to prohibit
the Communist Party, I have to tell you, would be a mistake for such
a democratic Supreme Soviet or such a democratic president of Russia.
BORIS YELTSIN: [Speaking through Interpreter] It is not a proposition.
It is a decree on cessation of the activity of the Communist Party until
this can be dealt with by the courts. It's a law. [applause] The party
will not be registered any longer in Russia.
PRES. GORBACHEV: [Speaking through Interpreter] Let's remain democrats
to the end, remain democrats to the end, and then everybody will be