18/08/2011 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines with Emily Maitlis.

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Tonight, markets in freefall and big questions asked about the


global leadership of the economy. But what does this latest bout of


panic mean? Investors are worried about a


double-dip in the real world, and an absence of reality in the world


of politics. We will be discussing if this


represents nothing less than failure of globalisation.


Go now, calls from the US in Europe for Syria's President to finally


stand down, as the UN hears new allegations of slaughter by Al-


Assad's forces. The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and


it is time for Al-Assad to get out of the way.


These ones got under the bar, but are higher fees going to put


tomorrow's students off the chance of going to university. I think if


you actually look into it, it is actually not a horrible deal, you


still get to borrow the money, you get to borrow it out for longer,


you earn more money before you start paying it back.


20 years ago the coup that spelt the end of the Soviet Union, and


ultimately Gorbachev. We hear the story of that remarkable time, in


his own words. Good evening, it takes very little


to send the markets into freefall these days. So this, a terrible day


in Europe, and in the states, can be nominally traced back to poor


economic data coming out of Philadelphia. More and more the big


questions are being asked, does the growing pessimism mean that both


economies are going into a new recession, and does it mean too


little leadership globaly and too few options left. We will hear from


the economist that believes globalisation is to blame.


First our economics editor, Paul Mason, is with me tonight.


We have had 4.5% knocked the value of shares in the FTSE in London,


and 5% off the American stock market. What they are reacting to


is the recovery is petering out and cooling off, there are clear signs


that politicians in the world don't have much of an idea what to do


with it. The students of the 1930s, and this looks like the double-dip


recession under Roosevelt. The whole 1930s, the shadow of the


1930s are hanging over the situation and the debate that is


are going on. Those who studied the 1930s are


always worried about a double-dip recession. Today a key index of


American production obliged, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve index


had plotted the recovery, the slowing recovery, but nothing


prepared the markets for this 31% drop.


We see a sharp drop in the manufacturing sector in the US, and


the Philadelphia region, a good indicator for future performance in


the US. And we have sharp drops in consumer confidence, a weaker


labour market, we could be on the cusp of recession even as we are


speaking now. There is a second quiet panic going on over Europes


and the banks. Some European states stand in danger of defaulting on


their debts. Those debts are held by banks, and the markets fear


sooner or later, a big bank will have to be rescued. So today the


markets dumped the shares European banks. RBS and Barclays both lost


11% of their value. As for the FTSE, which lost �61 billion in a single


day, 2011 is turning into bad year. The third risk is political,


everything depends on politicians taking big, decisive steps.


The markets want certainty over Europe, what's the deal that will


reshape the eurozone, and in America, which came close to


default two weeks ago, some investors fear there is just a


policy vacuum. We understand that markets do not like uncertainty, we


have all kinds of debt uncertainty in Europe, we have fatal flaw in


the construction of the eurozone, in the United States we have


Republicans and Democrats at loggerhead, they don't want to cut


the fiscal deficit, we know it needs to be cut. So we have this


impasse and in the two biggest economic blocks in the world. And


it is not surprising we have chaos in the financial markets.


nobody believes the chaos will be over soon. You talked about the


policy vacuum, what can you actually do? We have had tax cuts,


spending increase, printing money, we have had zero interest rates,


half bank nationalisations and bailouts. You will often Lear


people say there are no more - hear people say there are no more


bullets in the clip, there are actually plenty of things to do,


but not acceptable to the political class in the last 20 years. You


could break up the eurozone, and do very hard bank nationalisation, you


could have protectionism, you could abolish the minimum wage in various


countries. There are all kinds of things in the policy armoury that


actually countries have considered doing. But what we are increasingly


running up against are the political limitations above all of


democracies to do any of these things.


I'm joined from New York by the leading international economist,


Jeffrey Sach, and the global editor-at-large from Reuters, and


here in the studio by monetary analyst and former measure of the


Treasury panel, Tim Condon. First of all, Paul raises interesting


thoughts about the politically unthinkable, first of all, how


close are we to recession, Morgan Stanley published a report today


saying the second wave was just about here? Clearly the


transatlantic economies are stalled, at best. Surely a double-dip is a


real possibility. We have had dreadful lack of strategy on both


sides of the Atlantic right now. Europe is confused, divided,


European institutions are not working properly, the United States,


we don't have the presidential leadership that's essential for our


political system to operate. And so, while there are policy alternative,


not necessarily the list that we just heard, think there are better


ones, we are not getting sensible policies on either side of the


Atlantic, and the economies are in terrible trouble. So, for example,


when you hear Europe's President, Van Rompuy, saying he has no


expectation of return to recession in Europe, that doesn't reassure


you? Well, it certainly doesn't reassure the markets, and there are


some very serious problems in Europe right now. Obviously the


Greek crisis is on the front burner, but there is lots of risk of


contagion, all the way from Spain, Portugal, Italy, and now into the


banking sector into France. So there is a tremendous amount of


worry. I think this contagion could be avoided, this could be fought,


but it would need real leadership at the European level. Instead,


what we have is a lot of confusion a lot of division, and


nationalistic politics rather than European-wide determination to


protect and preserve the euro. That is what I would have expected see


from European politicians, but we are not seeing it very clearly.


sounds like you don't think anyone really has a clear plan for getting


us out of this mess. Let me ask you, bluntly, do you blame globalisation


for the position we are now in? Globalisation has really shaken our


economies, it has shaken the manufacturing sector in Europe and


in the United States. We could respond to it, and woe need to spon


to it, I believe that - and we need to respond to it. I believe long-


term, properly planned public investments in infrastructure and


upgrading skills in a new energy system, which both sides of the


Atlantic, and indeed the whole world need, this is something that


should have been done, instead what we had was short-term stimulus to


try to keep a consumption bubble alive. That petered out. And now,


what we have is a reversion to kind of plain vanilla austerity measures


which also don't give prospects of economic growth. So there are ways


to do things that we need to do, we need public investments desperately


to modernise our economies to upgrade skills, to train workers to


be able to compete in a highly competitive global economy. In


other words, globalisation hasn't failed so much as it has challenged


the transatlantic economies, desperately, and we have not


responded it. A lot of the world is growing fast, it is the high income


economies that did not react properly to globalisation at this


point. They want consumption-led growth, but that won't work. In a


sense it is too late to challenge globalisation now, the kind of


things you are putting forward sound very reasonable, but they are


politically, virtually impossible at this point in the cycle? I don't


think they are politically impossible, it is just that our


politicians were looking for short- term gimmicks, short-term gimmicks


all along. We had a consumption bubble which carried us through a


part of globalisation, but that consumption bubble collapsed in


2008, that was the occasion to get more serious. Instead we had more


attempts to revive a consumption bubble, that more or less carried


us through 2010, that finished as well. We have not seen either on


the US or European side, a truly sensible response. Globalisation is


not only shaking the competitiveness of a core part of


the transatlantic economy, but it has also led to massive income


inequalties in Europe and the United States, and the rich have


basically walked off with the prize, leaving a large part of the


population and the labour force, both in Europe and the United


States, effectively either without jobs or without a means of the kind


of middle-class suss napbs that they came to expect. And so, -


sustanenca that they came to expect. Politically they haven't looked


long-term. We still have to do it, there are no short-term gimmicks


now, we have to go through a serious long-term approach. Let me


put through some of those ideas, it would be interesting to hear your


response Tim Condona very strong phrase, the rich have basically


walked off with the goods, and the poor have been forgotten.


couldn't disagree more strongly, the effect of globalisation has


been to make poor people in China, India and the developing world,


much richer, that is a wonderful thing. I don't agrow that the prime


cause of inequality, and inequality has increased in the rich countries,


but the prime cause of things like that is bad education for the less


well off, and problems in our education system, the welfare state


and so on. I don't think they are caused by globalisation,


globalisation has been very good for our living standards and the


living standards of those, particularly the poor in the third


world. But you can't actually raise taxes of corporates without


corporates saying we have to go elsewhere. The same with any tax


you warranted to impose on individual, you get - you wanted to


impose on individuals, you get people going and doing business


elsewhere, that is where anyone can always escape it? The rich have


been escaping taxes for centuries. It doesn't mean it is OK? Let's be


clear we are talking about what is happening in the last 20 years, in


that period there has been intense globalisation, if you wish, and


there has been a huge increase of living standards of formally very -


formerly very poor people in places like India and China, and that is a


very good thing. How much do you think this is down to the economy,


per se, and how much is down to political system, which,


essentially, have left people nowhere to show leadership?


Actually, I think it is thank it is quite trendy at the moment to talk


about political dysfunction, and to talk about some how like treating


politicians like kids in a playground, and if only they could


all get along everything would be OK. I think actually the problem is


much more profound than that, if you take the United States, there


is a very serious, very consequential ideolgical divide.


That ideolgical divide is reflected in Washington and it exists in the


country. The very sad consequences right now, I think it is paralysing


Washington when it comes to responding to this crisis. We saw a


vivid example of this week, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, an


important politician, one of the leading Republican candidates for


the presidential nomination, talked about the chairman of the Fed, as


someone who is tease sonness, and if he goes to - trees sonness, and


if he goes to Texas he will be beaten up. That speaks of a huge


lack of faith in the Government by an important part of the US


political system. I don't think this is just about dysfunction, not


getting along, it is about a very, very deep division within the


country, which makes it so hard to deal with this extremely difficult


economic situation. What is the answer to that? I think there is a


little bit of confusion in what I'm saying and what has been commented


on. Globalisation, of course, has raised incomes in poor countries, I


was talking about how it has shaken our economies in Europe and the


United States. And what it has meant for those with low skills in


the US and Europe. It has created a terrible problem. What it has also


done is given the increase income and wealth at the very top of the


political spectrum. Our problem in the United States is not so much


political polarisation, but the fact that both political parties


cater to those who finance their campaigns. We get tax cuts at the


top, slashs in social spending at the bottom, and so the poor are


paying twice. They are paying by how globalisation is rearranging


the world economy and by how it is rearranging the politics. But both


the politics and economics are reaching a dramatic crisis point in


Europe and the United States, unless we get a lot more serious to


hold our societies together. That means Democrats and Republicans, it


is not one or the other, but both realising that the rich have become


fatastically rich and need to be taxed more, so they can help the


rest of society through this period. Unless we do this we are going to


enter a continuing era of greater instability.


It is interesting when you say we have to not treat politicians like


kids in the playground. The point is, nobody can be decisive this


time round, we have seen the wrangling in Congress, we have seen


the complete chaos in Europe, that is the problem, when democracies


can't actually show anything straight in terms of the leadership


now? Actually I don't think it is lack of decisiveness, I think it is


an honest disagreement, I do think in the United States the real


tragedy at the moment is that the President really is in the centre


of the ring, and he turns out to be the political actor who is the


least willing to express a clear agenda, and the least willing to


fight for it. That is certainly a big part of the reason why we


aren't seeing something clear and strong coming out of Washington. I


also think that Jeff is absolutely right to point to increased income


inequality in the west. In the United States, in much of western


Europe, as a real source of the problem, and what is happening, I


think political elites tend to hand out with business elites and it has


taken them a while to really realise the severity of how the


middle-class is being hit. That is the crux of it, isn't it, the


politicians listen to the people they think are voting for them,


sometimes this elite? It is a question of inequality, one of the


problems here is banking and the financial sector and how it fits


into capitalist economies. In the last few years the banking sector


has been extremely well paid, and people envy it a and so on, in


America there have been at least three episode where is they have


destroyed their banking system. Through more or less regulation,


that is where we are going now? think that is a big subject. In the


1930s the American banking system collapsed and had a big recession,


we must stop that this time. The big problem, in my view, in the


last few years Governments have been too tough on the banks, they


pay be overpaid, they have stopped the banks growing, they very slow


growth of money has been the basic cause of the recession.


After weeks of speculation, today President Obama, in words both


stark and unambiguous, called for Syria's President to go. With his


call a series of unprecedented and immediate actions, including a


freeze on all Syrian assets in the US. The statement was co-ordinated


with other European leaders, Merkel, Sarkozy and David Cameron here,


tonight the UN said it was investigating allegations of a


shoot-to-kill policy in Syria, and the deaths of 26 blindfolds


protestors in a stadium. In a moment we will discuss whether


tough words or economic sanctions can achieve anything without


military might. It has taken five months of


bloodshed, around 2,000 civilian lives lost. But the west has now


definitively turned its back on Bashar al-Assad, a co-ordinated


chorus of condemnation. This morning President Obama called


on Al-Assad to step aside. And announced the strongest set of


sanctions to date, targeting the Syrian Government. These sanctions


include the energy sector, to increase pressure on the regime.


The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it is time for


Al-Assad to get out of the way. Bashar al-Assad came to power 12


years ago on a wave of hope for reform. He still enjoys falling


support from party loyalists, but outside Syria, even Arab countries


are losing patience, he has few friends left, other than Iran. The


trouble for Bashar al-Assad first began when a group of teenagers in


the town of Deraa were arrested for scrawling anti-regime graffiti,


there were protests and the Syrian uprising began. It was met with


brutality, and UN investigators say that crimes against humanity may be


committed, and Syria should be referred to the International


Criminal Court. In one incident 26 blindfolded men


are said to have been shot dead in a football stadium. Syrian humam


rights activists say 30,000 people have been arrested, with 3,000


missing and more than 100 children among the dead. There was a policy,


they say, of shoot-to-kill. lady in dumb marks on the outskirts


of Damascus, she was seven months pregnant, a baby in her abdomen, in


her tummy, she was just pulling ahead, out - putting her head, out


of the door to grab a bowl of rice, they shoot her in her head.


despite mounting international concern, there is no prospect of


western military intervention. This is going to be battle of


political attrition. It is going to be one which can't easily be won,


but there is no point in simply going on and acting as if you could


ignore the level of violence and repression. I mean, this is the


first desert country in the world to use its own Navy to fire on its


own people. And the stakes are hi, you only have to look at the map to


see what matters in Syria matters what happens in the Middle East. It


shares wars with Lebanon and Iraq, and then there is Israel, which


occupied the Golan Heights in 1967. Although Israel and Syria have


fought three wars, there has been no direct confrontation for decades.


With the whole of the Middle East in torment, there is fears about


what the end of the Al-Assad regime might unleash. Unlike in Egypt and


Libya, there is no umbrella body for the opposition, the opposition


are seriously divided between exiles, those inside Syria, secular


opposition, Islamists and there is no agreement on any kind of


successor for Al-Assad. This isn't a turning point. The


turning point will come if and when we see major protests in those


parts of Syria that are as yet deciding it is not worth protesting,


there are big population sent erts, capital cities, and the places in


the north, so we see the military stretched so it has to choose. This


is a reaction of considerable frustration from the US and the


west. With Syrians burying ever-growing


numbers of dead, the US, Britain, France, Germany and the EU are now


speaking with one voice, that President Assad must go. They seem


to have all laided that he is more of a danger in power than -


calculated that he's more of a danger in power than out and they


want to tighten the screws on his regime.


Joining me the former US Secretary of State for Public affairs,


PJCrowley and a Syrian activist. What took them so long do you


think? I think part of it is a recognition, say by contrast to


Libya, that they are two different countries, Libya on the fringe of


the region, Gaddafi has no friends in the region, Syria is at the


heart of the region, as your report said there are potential ripple


effects that effect profound countries in the region. It hats


taken longer to make - it has taken longer to ensure there is support


in the region for the next step. There is a sobering understanding


of how difficult this will be. This is where Libya has been an effect,


five months ago we saw a military intervention, proving more


difficult than perhaps was initially anticipated. This has


contributed to the cautious approach to Syria. They have


specifically ruled out military action now, how much do you think


President Assad will listen to America? Not too much. Because he,


up until this point, very sure that the American administration


objective was to change the behaviour of the Syrian regime, not


change the regime. So although the regime tried this morning to pre-


emptively influence the statement, or at lost the tone of the


statement - at least the tone of the statement, by telling Ban Ki-


Moon that the military operation had stopped, this didn't happen,


because the Americans realised there won't be any reconciliation


between the people of Syria and the regime. The people of Syria have


reached the point of no return with the regime. There is no point of


reconciliation with them, this is the way they see it, Al-Assad has


to go. Al-Assad, not only as a figurehead for the regime but as a


family. You talk about getting the region on board, can Russia or


China ever be brought on board, is it the economic sanction that is


will make a difference. Or is it stopping the selling of


arms to countries like that from Syria? It is all of the above,


economically it will be important for countries like China, India,


and other European countries, to sever existing economic


transactions and relationships. Politically it will be important to


get the Security Council on board, again, a much more of a struggle in


the context of Syria than it was in the context of Libya. This is where


the United Nations provides a very interesting opportunity. Also today


you had the development where the UN panel has at least suggested the


possibility of crimes against humanity. And this could be a lever,


a long-term lever, that can be used to apply the kind of political


pressure on Syria that is necessary. One other point, I agree that it is


not Assad that has to hear this, but those around him, that have to


make their own calculation over time about their own survival. It


is that kind of pressure from inside Syria that is ultimately


going to be decisive. That whole thought of the


International Criminal Court, do you think that makes it more


difficult for an exit for President Assad now, will this have an


effect? Now he's obviously cornered, he realises he will never rule


Syria the way he did prior to the March uprising. This regime is


willing to do anything, and go to extreme lengths to control the


situation back home. So in that he did not count on this that the


Americans declared recently. He thought that he could actually work


with them to create a mechanism whereby Syria can actually transfer


to democracy under his leadership. It is interesting, isn't it, that


idea of whether you can work with a regime like Syria, I guess the


balance for western leaders is always the choosing of the ideaism,


gok circumstance versus the pragmatisim of stability -


democracy, versus the pragmatisim of stability, and he has said he's


keeping control and western leaders have believed that. This is the


hope for Assad for 20 years, after he replaced his father, that he


would be a reformer, he has always had that potential, he has never


followed through either because he is afraid to do it or because those


around him would not allow him. That has been a slow recognition.


If you look at the shift in the administration's position over time.


First it was, lead transition or get out of the way, then you have


lost legitimacy. Fine I think there was a situation they could no


longer ignore, that it is clear that Assad is not going to change,


the nature of the regime or his behaviour.


The gap year stories circulating the fresher's week bar may be less


compelling this autumn, or sound similar. Many have ditched the


prospect of a year off to seize a university place while they can


afford it. This will be the last intake before the tuition rise next


year, leaving students with a debt that could mean �30,000. It will


change our society's approach to university forever. We ask does the


evidence bear that out. There is always a bit of luck in


pass ang exam, for these students their biggest slice of good fortune


means going to university before tuition fees in England treble next


year. What impact will the impending change have, and how


lasting will it be. Many students this year will forego a gap year


before starting university. I have been waiting for this too long,


even if fees go up, I wouldn't want a gap year. If you look into it, it


is not actually not a horrible dealment you still get to borrow


the money, and out for longer, you have to earn more money before


paying it back. I'm not phased by it. Even if I did have to take gap


year, it wouldn't change my decision. The teachers here in an


academy in Hackney, East London, encourage students to go to


university. The head thinks next year's rise in fees will only make


prospective students more discerning. Four years in


university is a good investment. It is really up to the universities to


sell their degrees, and to demonstrate to the students that


the universities are of high quality and the programmes of study


are of high quality. And there is prosession, they need to show our


students a track record of this, prosession from the course to


employment. Some fear it is students from poorer backgrounds


who will be put off. Regardless of the repayment mechanisms of how you


pay back tuition fee, if you get a letter through your door every year


that case you have an amount of debt close to a small mortgage,


that will affect choice and psychology. Perhaps those with a


background without those at university, and without the


guidance of rational choice, they will be massively put off by the


huge debt hanging over them. No amount of explanation will get over


that psychology and fear of debt. Maybe that will happen this time.


But in the past, hikes in fees haven't had a lasting impact on the


size or social mix of the student population. In 1998, upfront fees


of �1,200 a year were brought in, replaced by deferred fees of �3,000.


This is graph showing the proportion of 18, 19-year-olds


going to university during that period of time. In both change


years we see the same rise in entry the year before the changes come in.


There is then fall in the year the change actually happens, but looks


what happens after that. Things get back to normal and carry on rising


in the subsequent years. That is overall participation, what about


the socioeconomic make-up of the entrants. The Institute for Fiscal


Studies studied the 2006 tuition That is close to zero and


statistically insignificant. At the university of East London, they


don't believe the new fee regime will deter students this time


either, if it is properly explained. After rather shaky start, which I


can understand, the Government, working with universities and the


media, is now doing a much better job of getting the message across.


We are committed to working with the Government in terms of getting


those messages out to some of the more difficult to reach


constituencies. At the University of East London we are doubling our


investment in our message to make sure that higher education is for


the many not just the few. There is also evidence from


elsewhere in the world, Ireland abolished tuition fees in 196. If


tuition fees discourage poorer students we might see them


encouraged by the abolition of the In fact, the evidence shows that it


is actually exam results that are the biggest factor in getting


students from poorer backgrounds into university. That is the real


challenge for policy makers, to improve their life chances, they


need to be making a difference long before students are even thinking


about university. On August 19th, 1991 the world woke


up to hear that President Gorbachev was supposedly ill and an emergency


committee had taken over power in the Soviet Union. It was an


abortive attempt by hardliners to turn the clock back. But the impact


of the failed society coup was dramatic. By the end of the year


the Soviet Union had disappeared, and Gorbachev, the last Soviet


leader, forced into retirement. 20 years on we have had exclusive


access to Mikhail Gorbachev, to chart the inside story of the coup,


and its long-term consequences. The Kremlin leader, who started out


the master of compromise and ended up its victim.


1991, a momentous year, when the future of Russia and the world were


at stake. He listened carefully and then said,


please, please. Explain to your President, this country is on the


brink of civil war. TRANSLATION: was a struggle for life and death.


20 years on, the inside story of Mikhail Gorbachev's downfall, and


the demolition of the Soviet empire. You saw a coup in the Soviet Union


that may have changed the whole face of it and one saw it swept


away. That enormous white building across


the Moscow River, is exactly what it looks like, the imposing


headquarters of someone very high up and very important, Vladimir


Putin, the most powerful politician in Russia. But 20 years ago it was


something very different, it was the centre of the resistance to the


attempted coup that tried to topple Mikhail Gorbachev and reverse his


reforms. By 1991, the public mood was becoming angry. For ordinary


people, economic upheaval was beginning to make life unbearable.


The Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, took the brunt of


people's rage. It was six years of his reforms that they considered


were to blame. At times he sought solace in political jokes.


Gorbachev told me the following story, he said there was a food


shortage in Moscow, and people were queuing for bread, and they had


been queuing a long time and they were getting very irritated. And


one man turned in the queue and said to his neighbour, I'm fed up


with this, I blame Gorbachev, he's going to kill Gorbachev and off he


went. He came back two days later, the queue had moved forward a


little. Well they said, had he killed Gorbachev, no he replied,


the queue to kill Gorbachev was just too long!


At the annual May Day parade, the crowd on Moscow's Red Square jeered


at Gorbachev. But behind the scenes, there was a bigger threat. Members


of his own Government, next to him on the podium, were privately


scheming against him. TRANSLATION: We saw in Gorbachev someone who was


incapable of governing, we were quite convinced about this.


Americans heard rumour that is a coup was being planned to oust


Gorbachev. It was Yeleusizov's idea to warn Gorbachev, I told him it


was more - Yeltsin's idea to warn Gorbachev, he told him a coup was


being organised against him and could happen at any time. He


laughed and said something about naive Americans. By early August,


1991, Gorbachev decided to join forces with his arch rival, Boris


Yeltsin. They struck a deal in a secret meeting. TRANSLATION:


agreed that Boris Yeltsin would stay in Russia as he was an elected


President, and Gorbachev would be union President. And we would get


rid of all those putting spokes in the wheels, and then we named them,


the people we were talking about. What Gorbachev didn't realise was


that the very hardliners he was planning to get rid of, had


secretly used the KGB to record the conversation. His deal with Boris


Yeltsin back fired, his enemies, including his own vice-president,


defence and KGB chiefs, decided to act at once, stage a coup against


The coup plotters sent a delegation to confront Gorbachev at his


holiday Villa by the Black Sea, in a tense meeting they presented him


with an ultimatum, either to agree to a state of emergency, or hand


over power to them. TRANSLATION: even swore at them, I said to go


and convene a Congress, and we will see whose plan will get more


support, their's or mine. In the end they left empty handed, they


flew back. I think they got drunk on the way, and reported back that


Gorbachev had refused. Refused what? Refused to sign the order


delegating my powers to the vice- president, due to the poor state of


my health. What lies. In Moscow tanks rolled into the city centre.


State television and radio announced that Gorbachev was ill


and an emergency committee was now in charge. It looked as though the


old terrifying Soviet dictatorship was back. As the drama unfolded in


Moscow, Gorbachev realised the phones were disconnected, and he


and his family were under house arrest. He and his wife feared the


worst. TRANSLATION: They surrounded us with the cars down by the


seashore and everywhere. We entrance they parked cars so nobody


could drive past, many people were trying to get in, and they wouldn't


let anyone through. TRANSLATION: Several of our


bodyguard deserted us, we were not sure we could trust those who


stayed behind. I didn't know whether they were protecting us or


were under orders to guard us, they could have turned their beguns on


us at any time, we were - guns on us at any time, they were watching


us from every staircase. In the capital, Boris Yeltsin


denounced the coup as illegal, and urged people to join him at the


White House to defend Russia's fledgling democracy.


Thousands gathered, people who realised after six years of


Gorbachev's reforms they had lost their fear. It was this new found


de defiance that dealt a cruel blow to the coup leaders, parts of the


army refused to fire on the people. Within three days it was over,


Gorbachev and his family returned to Moscow, but everything had


changed. The coup leaders had lost, but so too, it turned out had


Gorbachev. A showdown in the Russian


parliament made the power shift clear. At first, Gorbachev assumed


as Soviet President he was in charge. Then Yeltsin the Russian


President, interrupted him with the bombshell news that he was


outlawing the communist party, Gorbachev no longer had the power


to overrule him. Yet Gorbachev still hoped the old structure of


the Soviet Union could be preserved with himself at the helm. Not all


leaders in Soviet Republics agreed. TRANSLATION: I believe it was


Yeltsin that brought up the idea in conversation, how about meeting


without Gorbachev, and we agreed to meet in Belarus.


During an informal gathering, in a remote hunting lodge, deep in the


forest, the three Presidents, from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, dealt


a final blow to Gorbachev, and the entire Soviet Union. TRANSLATION:


Boris Yeltsin said would you agree to the Soviet Union ending its


existence, I said OK and the others said OK too.


It only really dawned on me afterwards when the car came to


take me home, what we had done. was decided that Belarus President,


Stanislau Shushkevich, should break the news to Gorbachev, while Boris


Yeltsin announced it to the world. TRANSLATION: When they finally put


me through to Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin was already on the phone to


Bush. I told him, and he said can you imagine what the outside world


will think of this, and in other words, you idiots for getting


involved in it. I said actually Boris Yeltsin is speaking to


President Bush right now. On the other end of the phone there


was a silence, and then he hung up. Gorbachev had no choice but to


resign. After six yeerts in power, he went on tell - years in power,


he went on television for the last time as President of the Soviet


Union. The red flag came down. Replaced by the Russian tricolour.


Boris Yeltsin, President of Russia was in charge now. He and Gorbachev


never spoke again. Abroad Gorbachev is still praised for ending the


Cold War. In Berlin they greet him as a hero for his part in reuniting


Germany. The communist old guard, from East


Germany and the Soviet Union, live on only on a mural on the Berlin


Wall. Nowadays it is a current Kremlin ruler whom Gorbachev cet


sizes, he likens - criticise, he likens Putin's hold on the country


to Brezhnev cease. TRANSLATION: Russia should be a country of


stability, but stability kills stagnation.


I think they have blown it with democracy. The electoral system we


had was nothing remarkable, but they have simply castrated it. I


apologise for my choice of words, but they really have circumcised it.


20 years on, the Soviet leader who changed the world had lost an


empire, but insists he still has a role. Sending the alarm about


Russia's fragile democracy before it's too late.


You can see more of that interview with Mikhail Gorbachev in two films


this weekend on the BBC News Channel. We will bring you the


front pages of the papers in one second. A quick update on the story


we ran last night, about Richmond council in London putting a young


defendant in their care in a Premier Inn, we put on the


programme that the defendant was on remand at the time. Richmond


council say he was not on remand but put in the hotel after a court


hearing because the council Some people Geithnering in with A-


star grades because - some people not getting in with A-star grade


because of places so tight. That's Hello there, summer makes a brief


return on Friday. Most of us having a fine day. It will start off a bit


chilly a few showers in north-east Scotland. Grey day in Northern


Ireland with outbreaks of rain. Overall expects spells of sunshine,


hazy later on. Temperatures up to 19-20. A dryer brighter day across


southern counties of England and East Anglia. Dorset affected by the


flooding today. Sunny spells across the far South-West. Cloud


increasing in Wales, sunshine turning hazy. Overall it will be


dry and bright. It will be cloudy in Northern Ireland. Not much


sunshine on offer here, there will, at times, be outbreaks of rain,


particularly in the west. Some of that rain may work its way into the


far west of Scotland. Most of Scotland looking dry and bright,


the morning showers tending to fizzle out by the afternoon. Some


uncertainty by the weekend, parts of northern England and the


Midlands will see outbreaks of rain. Showers across the Highlands, some


of the rain across the Midlands may affect parts of Wales and the south


west. At the moment it looks like south-east England will be dry. It


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