100,000 Back Up Yeltsin in Rally Near Kremlin : Soviet Union: His demand for Gorbachev’s resignation is repeated by many angry voices.
About 100,000 people turned out for a rally on Sunday in support of Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin after Communist Party hard-liners blasted him for demanding that Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev resign.
The crowd filled a huge square next to the Kremlin in central Moscow. The demonstrators chanted Yeltsin’s name and turned against the Soviet president, chanting, “Gorbachev resign!”
“Red Filth, Hands Off Our Yeltsin!” read one sign at the rally in support of the 60-year-old politician, who did not attend. Other signs read: “Gorbachev, The People Despise You,” and “Uncle Gorby, My Granny and I Don’t Trust You Any More.”
On national television last Tuesday, Yeltsin accused Gorbachev of sacrificing political and economic reforms to gain personal power, and demanded that he resign.
Since then, Yeltsin has been fiercely attacked by hard-line Communist lawmakers and in the government-controlled media, especially television.
“The Soviet media is unleashing a campaign of lies and slander against our leader,” said Bella Denisenko, a lawmaker from the Russian republic. “We want him to hang in there.”
The demonstration in Manezh Square was the third in as many days. On Friday night, thousands of people rallied in support of free speech. The next day, the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the Soviet army and navy, more than 75,000 soldiers, veterans and others rallied to support the military and government.
At Sunday’s gathering, speakers railed against Leonid Kravchenko, head of the state broadcasting monopoly, for slanting coverage in favor of Gorbachev.
Telman Gdlyan, a former investigator for the Soviet prosecutor’s office who fell from official favor after he accused the leadership of wrongdoing, demanded objective reporting.
“Yesterday (Kravchenko) showed us the rally of soldiers, of KGB and of apparatchiks, who were brought here by force,” Gdlyan said. “Today, we demonstrate the free will of the people.
“Let him prove that he is not a boot-licker. The next word is yours, Mr. Kravchenko,” Gdlyan said.
Later, a newscaster on state television’s evening news program “Vremya” read a terse account of the rally from the official Tass news agency, but no footage was shown.