The events of August 19, 1991 in the USSR that capitalism´s advocates are evoking with a classic operation of ideological diversion, represented a desperate and failed attempt by the high ranking leaders of the Soviet Party and State to prevent the disintegration of the USSR, in yet another episode in the great struggle then being waged in the Soviet Union over the fate of this powerful multinational country and its socialist system.

This event served as an excuse for an extremely violent international anti-Communist campaign, a campaign which besides aiming to weaken, divide and smear the Communist parties, mainly tried to justify imperialism’s brutal interference in the internal affairs of the Soviet State and to give political and ideological cover to the counter-revolutionary forces which, tearing down the Soviet Constitution, were already preparing an assault on power.

An assault took place soon after, with the dissolution and banning of the CPSU and, later on, with a wide range of violent and criminal acts, whose particularly significant example was the bombardment of the Supreme Soviet.

What is historically relevant is not the events of August 19 but the swift counter-revolutionary escalation headed by Yeltsin who – against the express will of the Soviet peoplein the March 17 referendum of that year, and despite the already created confusion in society, where 76% of the Soviets voted for the continuation of the USSR – led to the dismantling of the USSR and the destruction of the socialist socio-economic system.

It was a system which, despite delays, mistakes and distortions which had to be overcome, clearly revealed its superiority over capitalism. It brought to the Soviet people great achievements and accomplishments. It gave the most heroic and decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazi fascism. It had a determining influence on the great transformation and revolutionary changes of the 20th century. Its destruction would have to represent, and indeed it did represent, great losses to the workers and peoples of the USSR and the peoples of the whole world.

With the disappearance of the powerful counterweight that the USSR and the socialist system represented in relation to imperialism and its exploitative and aggressive policy, and with the brutal change in the correlation of forces arising from it, the world became more unjust, more dangerous, and more inhumane.

Twenty years later, we can clearly see the falsehood and hypocrisy of the “democratic” and “humanitarian" arguments that presided the anti-Soviet and anti-Communist campaign about the events of August 19, 1991, falsehood and cynicism that the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) soon denounced, facing firmly the falsification and calumny that, in Portugal, aimed to discredit, weaken and divide the party collective. The PCP confirmed and affirmed its revolutionary principles and identity and expressed full confidence in the Communist ideal and project.

It is convenient to highlight the political and ideological defeat of those who then trumpeted the “death of Communism,” the “irreversible decline” of the PCP, the “end of class struggle,” the “end of history.” In short, the praise of a triumphant and vindictive capitalism, trying to rewrite history to fit its interests, has been defeated by events.

The reality of the deep crisis in which the capitalist system is plunged speaks for itself. Capitalism not only reveals itself to be unable to solve the problems of the workers and the peoples, but tends to worsen them deeply, putting at risk the existence of mankind itself, with the race for maximum profits, with environmental aggression, and war.

As the 18th Congress of the PCP stated, socialism, the alternative to capitalism, is more than ever timely and necessary.