Marjorie Farquharson: A brief note from Moscow (August 1991)

This short piece by Marjorie Farquharson was originally published on the website Marjorie and is republished here by kind permission.

I’m definitely not into heroics, but see some real advantages in sitting tight for the time being. The balance of forces is very unclear and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the coup will fold in 10-14 days. In some ways it seems to have been poorly prepared and the level of resistance is meeting or maybe surpassing their expectations. The feeling here is that the first week will be key for RSFSR side and so perhaps things will be clearer in some days time.

A lot for me and for the people I know seems to depend on morale. It’s taken as natural that I’m here and I’m included in the round of phone calls with latest news. If AI were to leave it would be a blow to morale and if we left without reason, as things go, I think we would be set back a long way. If we are here throughout and the coup folds, I think many of our problems will be over. Anyway, my reading of the situation keeps veering between more or less optimistic, so I’m playing the situation by ear.

Last night we went for dinner and passed 11 heavy tanks outside the Foreign Ministry press office, all their guns trained on Progress Publishers for some reason. When we came back there were only 9, so perhaps 2 had gone off to storm the parliament…

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