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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Elected President Zyuganov: the interior Minister under Yeltsin revealed the secrets of the nineties

20 years ago, June 16, 1996, the citizens of Russia for the second time in its history went to the polls to choose a head of state. The first round of the presidential election was inconclusive; the second, held on 3 July, had gained the upper hand, Boris Yeltsin. According to the official version… Ex-interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov said “very close” version of the actual victory of Gennady Zyuganov. This and other mysteries “of the new coming” Yeltsin g-n Kulikov has told our browser.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

Anatoly Kulikov

From the file “MK”: Anatoly Kulikov, former Minister of internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (1995-1998), Deputy Prime Minister of Russia (1997-1998), President of the club of generals of the Russian Federation, General of the army.

— Anatoly Sergeyevich, a question which for twenty years does not give rest to politicians, analysts, historians and, perhaps, anyone who was an eyewitness to these events: who really won the presidential election in 1996?

— For the version which appeared immediately after the vote, victory in the second round was won by Zyuganov. When summarizing the results of the election changed lines: results Zyuganov were the result of Yeltsin, and Vice versa (according to the official results of the second round, Boris Yeltsin gained 53.82% of the votes, Gennady Zyuganov — 40.31 percent. — “MK”). No official confirmation of this information, of course not, but I think it is, shall we say, very close to the truth.

— You rely on data that you had at the time when you headed the interior Ministry?

— Well, of course. By the way, several years ago Dmitry Medvedev — if I’m not mistaken, it was on his meeting with representatives of non-parliamentary opposition is also voiced this version.

And Zyuganov himself knew about his victory?

– As far as I know, Yes. There is, of course, the question is: if he really won, then why give up, why agree with fraud? I asked this question to Zyuganov (later, when he was dismissed).

According to him, he feared that the search for truth could lead to confrontation in society, lead to unintended consequences. But I think that Gennady Zyuganov, as they say in such cases in the criminal environment, found a good excuse. The thing is, in my opinion, in his character: it is peaceful and not a very ambitious person. For about a quarter of a century Zyuganov leads the Communist party, but we never saw that he seriously tried to claim authority. The Bible tells the truth, takes to the pioneers…

— Well, what could he do in that situation? To bring people to the streets?

— I, as, perhaps, no one other then in power, saw in what condition the country was, what the mood was in the community. The delay of salaries and pensions, strikes, protests… However, it was obvious that with all the discontent with the power of the people will not act as one in support of the leader of the Communists. If Zyuganov has tried to bring people to the streets and proclaim yourself President, the success would not have achieved. And he also knew it. But Zyuganov has the ability to act within the constitutional and legal norms. However, he made no attempts to protest the election results.

— Moreover, Gennady Zyuganov immediately congratulated Yeltsin victory. By the way, I heard that Yeltsin’s headquarters was on this account a preliminary agreement with Zyuganov.

– Can’t rule it out. Although I will not assert: was not a witness to these negotiations. In any case, Zyuganov, as stated, resigned to his fate. And, apparently, she’s quite satisfied with it.

“Your decision leading to the civil war”

And still: whether in power, as the saying goes, “plan B” in case things took a not so peaceful revolution?

— Any special action in case the Communists tried to challenge the election results and initiate street protests, I do not know. But in principle, in law enforcement agencies such, as you say, plan B is called plan service and combat use. The list of extraordinary circumstances in which he may be involved, there is, of course, “revolt of the opposition.” But there are, for example, “mass riots”.

— And you then decided for yourself how you will act if it comes to open confrontation?

My main thought was – how to prevent it. And in March 1996 it succeeded. Then the President decided to dissolve the Duma, to postpone the elections and to ban the Communist party. Yeltsin repeated like a mantra: “I need two years.” The drafts of decrees lay on the desktop of the President.

In essence, this was said to Yeltsin, the strategy has already begun to be implemented. On the morning of March 18 started blocking the Duma, it was announced that the building is mined. But when at about 8 am we got the command to start councilors, I realized that Yeltsin gave a retreat… I came out strongly against these plans. Directly told the President: “Your decision leads to civil war.”

I knew that on the table before him lies another decree about my dismissal. But at that moment I didn’t care. For myself, I decided to participate in this adventure will not and will do all they can to prevent it. Fortunately, Yeltsin had the wisdom to analyze the situation and to get over yourself. He realized that this may end tragically for the country.

— After this bet was made on rigged?

Maybe. But we must take into account that the new electoral headquarters of Boris Yeltsin, which was headed by Chubais, was done by powerful organisational and propaganda work. Were mobilized enormous resources — financial and intellectual. If not, then doubt the veracity of the election results would, of course, much more.

— But such elections could also result in tragedy.

— Honestly, biggest fears on this occasion I did not. How well the propaganda machine worked, how it influenced the minds of ordinary people, I was able to feel, talking with the workers, who covered the court at my summer cottage. It was just before the election. Their foreman told me that he wants Yeltsin won. He supposedly only started making money, he had his job, and the Communists it will be closed immediately. For me it was also a signal. The same was said of the track and the picture of us public attitudes. It was clear that Yeltsin will retain power even when dubious election results. What country will take these results, and will not be any revolution.

— Why Yeltsin plunged into such a panic for three months before the election?

– Plans to disperse the Duma, ban the Communist party and cancel the elections I first heard from Yeltsin himself early Sunday morning, March 17, 1996, when he called me to the Kremlin.

Two days before this, on March 15, he spent the security Council, but there was no talk about anything like that. What a decision! It was clear that Yeltsin someone affected.

I then immediately thought that it was the work of Korzhakov (Alexander Korzhakov, the former head of presidential security. — “MK”) and Soskovets Oleg Soskovets, at that time first Deputy Prime Minister. — “MK”). And later I came to the conclusion that that’s exactly what happened.

photo: Archive MK

Soskovets was the first head of the election headquarters of Boris Yeltsin, Korzhakov also played a prominent role. And the initial phase of the campaign would, in fact, failed: the President’s rating remained low. Yeltsin provoked, played on weak strings — frightened by the prospect of coming to power of Communists that he even thoughts could not prevent. And at some point succumbed to the entreaties.

“It was clear — this operation is korsakovskoe special services and FSB

— As you know, Korzhakov and his companions tried to play our game and between the two presidential rounds, organizing the famous “case of a box from under the copier”. What then was their purpose?

– I don’t think they were pursuing any far-reaching political goals. I think they just wanted to show Yeltsin: you we have not listened, and look, what dirty things do these guys (Sergei Lisovsky and Arkady Evstafiev, member of the election headquarters of Boris Yeltsin, was arrested on 19 June 1996 while trying to take away from the government House 538 thousand US dollars placed in a cardboard box. — “MK”).

From the point of view of the law the detention of lissovsky and Evstafieva was absolutely legitimate. The money, which they carried to the headquarters of Boris Yeltsin, had no accompanying documents. The source of their origin — is another question. The result of the owner cannot be established, but it is obvious to me that they were taken from the state Treasury.

— And you “korjakova” his plans?

— No, I wasn’t privy to. Formally, members of Yeltsin’s staff was stopped by a police officer holding duty at the entrance of the White house. But the next day, Korzhakov, making clear eyes, said to me: “Your police have detained Lisowski,” I laughed. “Sasha, — I say — come on to do it. My police… I, Too, found the brave”. Well, he also smiled in response. It was clear that this operation korsakovskoe intelligence agencies and the FSB, and the MVD played in this combination a secondary role. This is indicated by the fact that neither I, the Minister, or even the duty of the Ministry of internal Affairs nothing was reported about the incident.

The first about “a box from-under the copier” I announced new security Council Secretary Lebed Alexander Lebed was appointed to this position on 18 June 1996, after being ranked third in the first round of the presidential election. — “MK”).

Early on the morning of 20 June, he called me to the country “Kremlevka, the apparatus of government, and had asked him to come to the Old square. “The situation,” said, ” very disturbing.” My question is: “What happened?” Swan said that the President is very sick. And began to speak in riddles: “Guys don’t understand what to do in such a situation… Need your advice”.

— Were you acquainted with him before?

— No, it was our first meeting. One day, however, I involuntarily drew attention to it. It was in 1995, at the final meeting in the Ministry of defence. In response to the comment of Grachev (Pavel Grachev, the defense Minister of the Russian Federation in 1992-1996 — “MK”) a General cheeky, rude snapped. Grachev did not respond to it. I was very surprised, asked their neighbors, “Who is this, why act like that?” Answer me waved his hand: “Oh, that Lebed, commander of the 14th army. He has such a character, all used. Besides, he and Grachev had served together…”

When I got to the Swan, he took the conversation about what the Ministry of defence allegedly was preparing a conspiracy headed just dismissed Minister (Pavel Grachev was dismissed on 17 June 1996. — “MK”). Grachev was replaced by a protege of the Swan — Rodionova that, apparently, was one of the conditions of a political deal.

According to the Secretary of the security Council, it was neither more nor less than ‘a new emergency Committee”. He listed the “conspirators”, many of whom were my classmates at the Academy of the General staff. I knew, therefore, did not believe the Swan. Then the conversation turned to Korzhakov and Barsukov (Mikhail Barsukov, at that time head of the FSB. — “MK”), whose people were detained yesterday in the evening employees of Yeltsin’s headquarters.

I was interrupted by a Swan: “Wait, for me now the main thing not some “boxes”, and the state of health of the President. Why did you decide that he is so sick that they are no longer able to govern?”

Alexander started to play up: “no, No, he’s much better!” And soon the bell rang Yeltsin himself. Swan Boyko reported to the President about a fictional conspiracy, and when he, apparently, asked what to do, said, “Boris Nikolayevich, I can’t give you any advice, God forbid. But I consider it appropriate to release these people from their posts…”.

It was, of course, not only the position of the Swan. He implemented a plan of the Yeltsin headquarters. Yes, in fact, he was part of the plan. It was the idea of Chubais and Tatiana (Dyachenko, now Yumasheva, the daughter of Boris Yeltsin. — “MK”) is to give Lebed the post of Secretary of the security Council and thus attract him to their side.

Yeltsin pondered for a long time: the same day, Korzhakov, Barsukov and Soskovets was fired. Victims of slander steel and several generals of the Ministry of defence. Well, I made a conclusion that with the new Secretary of the security Council should act very carefully. The second putsch”, fabricated them in my eyes, testified to the fact that this person is not all right with his conscience. But from time to time he treated me loyally since, apparently, had me certain.

“I told Swan: “You lout!”

— When the Swan realized that you do not justify his hopes?

First, our fundamental differences were related to his attempt to create a “Russian Legion” — armed groups numbering 50 thousand people, which would be directly subordinate to Secretary of the security Council.

He Swan in conversation with me and defense Minister Rodionov said that this case he needs to “quickly crush Chechnya”. Like, tinkering in the Caucasus, Potter, with no end in sight, and if he had such power, it would have solved the problem. This explanation struck me as unconvincing and insincere. It was clear to me that the Swan just took your pocket army. And would use this army of “storm troopers” in order that have nothing to do with Chechnya.

I and Rodionov gave a negative opinion. Realizing that this idea does not work, Swan has changed tactics. Was prepared a draft decree, according to which units and formations involved in the conflict in Chechnya, submitted to the security Council. Rodionov and Sergei Stepashin, who was then the head of the administrative Department of the government, endorsed the project. The same was asked to do and me but I flatly refused, expressing two considerations.

First, the security Council, an Advisory, consultative body. Any authority in relation to the power structures he does not have. Secondly, in the interests of resolving the conflict in the North Caucasus are involved 100 percent of the Armed forces, the entire staff of the interior Ministry, interior troops and FSB. That is, in fact, all who wear the country badge. There is a constant rotation: some returned home, others sent… it turns out That all the security agencies will have to obey the Swan? No, I can not agree. I answer only to the Supreme commander.

This conversation took place in the office Stepashin. “It’s the Minister of internal Affairs team?! “Swan, referring to the owner’s office. — Report Chernomyrdin, let the decision taken by the Prime Minister”.

Go to Chernomyrdin. Sit: Victor Stepanovich the head of the table, on the left hand — I and Rodionov, on the right — Lebed Stepashin. Swan lit a cigarette. Did it explicitly with a challenge: no one dared to smoke in the presence of the Prime Minister, because he did not tolerate tobacco smoke. First reported Stepashin: such and such situation. Chernomyrdin looks at me: “Anatoly Sergeyevich, what do you say?” I repeat their arguments. “Well, Kulikov’s right,” says Viktor. — What kind of subordination to the security Council can be a speech?!”

Swan, growing rather red, snapped: “And what am I to you … a dog?!” And made known obscene gesture bent in the elbow hand. Then for some time silence reigned. Chernomyrdin dropped his head, not knowing how to react to the outburst.

I could not resist: “You ham! How you behave in the presence of the Prime Minister and two Ministers?! What?! Shame on you!” In response, Swan shouted to me across the table, spluttering, “Yes, I ham! But you can’t do anything, and I want to clean up!” After that, Viktor Stepanovich, coming to himself, said: “all right, at this set point. I’ll tell the President.”

The President in the end took your side.

– Yes, but at the moment I have absolutely no confidence that the matter will end thus. The position of the Swan seemed very strong, many members of the political elite, that is, put on him. Alexander was also set up in combat. Staged a press conference where you, accusing me of all mortal sins, in particular, that I sold to Chechnya,” said that “with a probability of 90 to 10” Kulikov in the near future will be dismissed.

To me all this political kitchen, frankly, are already so fed up that I would even be happy to resign. But contrary to the calculations of the Swan, the President relieved from his post not me, but him.

The turning point in the attitudes of Yeltsin’s team occurred at one of the informal meetings with Chernomyrdin, which at the time invited me. Was also attended by Chubais, and Tatyana, Eugene Savostianov, Sergey Zverev and, in my opinion, Boris Berezovsky.

photo: Alexander Astafyev
With Boris Berezovsky.

At first, the conversation did not like me: everyone was trying to solve some of their problems. I listened, listened, and then, unable to stand, said, “I do not understand what you’re debating. Our main problem is different: you are still mistaken about the true plans of the Swan. He is not aiming for the post of Minister of internal Affairs, and the President. And his rise to power can turn into big trouble for the country…” Tatiana was mumbling off something. Say loudly: “What? You don’t understand something?” And then she says quietly: “I fully agree with you…”

“Maskhadov promised to send to Moscow up to a thousand fighters”

— Some time ago I was talking with a good friend you Alexander Gurov. And, according to him, in the autumn of 1996 he was approached by people from military intelligence and asked to contact you to tell you that Swan “preparing a coup” and that “for this purpose, arrived in Moscow from Transnistria special forces unit of the 14th army”. Do you remember this episode and whether or not the situation was so serious?

– Honestly, besides the call of Alexander Ivanovich Gurov other information about who came to the aid of the Swan commandos, I was not. But it is in principle correspond to what I knew about his plans.

Lebed’s rise to power and for her sake, was ready for anything. As one example, we obtained information from Chechnya about a secret meeting of the Swan and Maskhadov, held before the August militant attack on Grozny. According to our source, in response to Swan’s promised political support Maskhadov promised him in case of escalation of the situation to send to Moscow up to a thousand armed militants.

— Do you think this information reliable?

– One hundred percent. Swan systematically build a strategy of seizure of power. Collecting allies, like-minded people…

There was, incidentally, one episode when I felt that I was trying to engage in a conspiracy. Somewhere in late summer — early autumn of 1996 to see me came Zori Balayan (Armenian writer, journalist, political and public figure. — “MK”), with whom we met in the early 1990s, during the events in Nagorno-Karabakh. He began: “Anatoly Sergeyevich, here you are, two generals, a powerful man,” I said, “Who do you mean?” Balayan: “You and Swan. You need to take power into their own hands. You can see what is happening in Russia: chaos, destroy the economy, hurt the President… Find a common language!” And looks expectantly. “You already burned, — saying, — one source — in Karabakh. Want another fire to hold?! As long as I have powers, will do everything to ensure that the Swan was not at the helm of our state. Can you give this to anyone”.

It was the envoy from the camp of the Swan?

— It is likely. Because I immediately interrupted the conversation, did not go, so to speak, to contact, I have not been able to test this version… it so Happened that Alexander prematurely passed away, and I’m a soldier and a human sorry. But my assessment of his tenure as Secretary of the security Council remain unchanged. I still believe that his decisions associated with Chechnya, first of all, the Khasavyurt agreement is a betrayal.

The position of the Federal forces blocked the militants in Grozny in August 1996, it was not hopeless?

– Of course not. Although the situation, I must admit, was very difficult. I then used all the reserves that were in my possession. Everything. Last Sofrinsky brigade of internal troops is left to block likely escape routes of the militants.

I begged him to give at least one infantry regiment, but he was categorically against. Then I sent a telegram Chernomyrdin: please give relevant instructions to the defence Minister. And then he came to Rodionov with this telegram, which the Premier and his hand was written the resolution: “to Allocate the necessary forces to help”. But the instruction was never executed. If you call a spade a spade, it was sabotage. I am sure that it was not without a Swan that he blocked the arrival of reinforcements. He didn’t need Ivan, liberated from the militants…

But despite this, we were not going to surrender the city. Our guys fought very bravely. Is not lost not a single strategic object — neither the headquarters of the interior Ministry nor the FSB headquarters nor the headquarters of the joint group nor ammunition depots. Moreover, we managed to liberate part of the occupied territory. I can firmly state that on August 10 in the hostilities broke (the attack of militants on Grozny began on 6 August 1996. — “MK”). And when Pulikovsky (Konstantin Pulikovsky, commander of the joint group of Federal forces in the Chechen Republic. — “MK”) addressed to the inhabitants of Grozny asking to leave within 48 hours to the specified “corridor”, the separatists took it very seriously.

Warning Pulikovsky, which many called the ultimatum was due to the fact that operations for the final liberation of the city was supposed to use all available means and forces, including bomber and attack aircraft, artillery and jet systems of volley fire. Some Chechen field commanders started without agreement with Maskhadov to withdraw their troops from the city. However, at this time in Chechnya, Lebed arrives, cancels and breaks our entire system of defense. Start the Khasavyurt negotiations

After the signing of the Khasavyurt peace I sent to the President a report which very clearly expressed his attitude to the events: “I Think that the surrender of the city of Grozny was predetermined not by the actions of the Federal forces, and the political decision of the Secretary of security Council of the Swan.

“Kadyrov cause I have rather a sympathy”

— Well, how do you assess the results of the “second Chechen”? Was worth the results that we got so much spilled blood?

— The second Chechen campaign was forced. It was the result of anarchy, the failure of the former leadership of the country. The merit of Putin, unlike Yeltsin he is not afraid to take on the burden of responsibility for the situation in Chechnya and to take the necessary decisions. But Putin went further and used the option to which I, for one, was not ready. I mean “Chechenization” conflict — the fight against gangs by the hands of Chechens. However, this option became a reality.

— The question is — what price is achieved. There is an opinion that is shared by, as far as I know, and many of your colleagues-the siloviki: Kadyrov by other means got something for which fought Dudayev, is a de facto independent Chechnya. And perhaps even more because of Kadyrov’s “nukers” feel comfortable enough and outside the Republic.

– My point: we have achieved a tactical success, but strategically lost. The success is that in Chechnya itself the bullets whistle less often.

But this infection has spread to the neighboring regions: in Ingushetia and Dagestan counter-terrorism operations are conducted almost daily. There are questions about the situation in the Chechen Republic. Although Ramzan Kadyrov makes me rather sympathetic. He has so much blood feuds, jealous of him is not: it is doomed.

Nevertheless, it is clear that Kadyrov makes many mistakes. But why-that nobody corrects. Perhaps this policy of non-interference is connected with ignorance of the Caucasus. Here they worship power, and power is not only military, but also strong measures to remedy omissions and abuse.

— By the way, according to the common version, the creation of the National guard, among other things, was aimed at the elimination of Chechen security forces under Kadyrov’s control. This interpretation is, in your opinion, has the right to exist?

– I am familiar with this version. I think she has a right to exist, although in any case, it is certainly not the only goal. Not all of the functions and powers of the National guard to me is clear, but the idea seems to me quite reasonable.

Some say that Putin has created a National guard, as afraid of the upcoming elections, the opposition and so on. I don’t think so: the opposition in its current form is not a problem for him. But Putin cannot fail to see and consider what is happening in the world today. View: refugees almost overnight turned Europe. And take a look at our open borders: ISIS goes through them like a knife through butter… In my opinion, the creation of the national guard caused by a realistic assessment of global challenges and threats.

— Among social scientists there is a question: do you think that the country is moving in the right direction? How would you answer him today?

— Would have answered the purpose indicated correctly, but the measures aimed at its achievement are not always consistent. And not always infallible.

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