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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The former head of Yeltsin’s administration Filatov: “Once the era will remember with gratitude”

Sergei Filatov said on 10 July, his 80th birthday. Way of life this man has undergone many sharp turns. Currently Sergey heads the Foundation for socio-economic and intellectual programs. But in the history of the country he comes primarily as the head of the presidential Administration of Russia. This post Sergey Filatov held in one of the most difficult periods of our recent past — from January 1993 to January 1996. Their memories of the most dramatic moments of that era and thoughts about a real hero of the day was shared with “MK”.

photo: Gennady Cherkasov

— Sergey Aleksandrovich, the circumstances of your coming into politics known well enough: in 1990, you were elected people’s Deputy of RSFSR, and in 1991 became the first Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council in 1993, he headed the presidential Administration… About how and why you broke up with the corridors of power, a lot less. Don’t fill in the blanks?

— His resignation I associate first and foremost with the actions of Korzhakov (Alexander Korzhakov, 1991-1996 — head of the security Service of the President. — “MK”). The first bell rang in August 1995. I then went on vacation and flew to Sochi. The next day, calling my subsecretariat: “Sergey, have you removed the protection”. A month later, proposed to leave the garden — it was already a direct indication of the impending suspension.

Moreover, at about this time the provocation was undertaken against my daughter. It was attended by one of our maids, ensign security service: it persuaded Marina, who was then without work, to organize a small business enterprise and engage in the clothing trade. But once the outlet was opened, there was immediately raided by the police: there, they say, was selling stolen goods. There were also “victims” and “witnesses”… immediately There was a newspaper publication alleging that her daughter Filatov is suspected of having links with crime. Nothing of the sort, of course, was not in sight, the innocence of the Marina were obvious, so there is no legal continue that story received. But its customers did not need. They needed dirt is able to tarnish Filatov in the eyes of the President. By the way, one of the executors of this plan, as it turned out, was a notorious friend of Berezovsky, Alexander Litvinenko, who was then working in the FSB. He was accompanied by the “victim”, who discovered in tent had been stolen from her.

— That is played against you, including Berezovsky?

— No, I do not think that Berezovsky had something to do attitude. Intelligence in this case carried out the order of Korzhakov.

And after some time was followed by another provocation. On the eve, 1996, in “Russian newspaper” published an article, the meaning of which was that a senior Kremlin official has illegal nebezpecne the patronage of several of the Stavropol businessmen. The name was not called: the newspaper promised that the intrigue will be revealed in the next issue. However, a number of details clearly indicated that it is about me. I do often rested in the Stavropol territory, and was familiar with referred to in article entrepreneurs. But no criminal “roof”, of course, was not, nothing illegal was done. Since the author was a journalist who worked closely with the SBP, I knew whose ears this stick out. Invited Korzhakov and demanded an explanation from him. Subsequently, by the way, Korzhakov publicly acknowledged what he called this “mischief”. But then he denied it — the conversation ended in nothing.

And the next day I called the Ilyushin (Ilyushin, Viktor, at that time — the first assistant to the President. — “MK”) and reported that 4 Jan is waiting for me at the Boris. I put two and two together, and it was clear to me that, according to the basic idea of the article, it was to be the prelude of my loud, controversial dismissal. However, this plan was implemented completely. We must pay tribute to the President: he did not fully believe what he whispered to Korzhakov. Anyway, in our conversation with Boris Nikolayevich about any compromising of the question. The President just offered me to work in his campaign headquarters, to become its Deputy leader. He argued the fact that I’m good at finding common language with the creative intelligentsia. I said Yes.

— Nevertheless, it turns out that the President still went on about Korzhakov.

— I will not argue. They were very close, the President trusted Korzhakov almost unconditionally. I must admit that the personnel policy was not a strong point of the Yeltsin. Often, his choice was beyond any logical explanation: he lifted his ideological opponents, outright enemies of his reforms. Subsequently costly to the country. Suffice it to recall, what ended up becoming Vice President Rutskoi. Activity Korzhakov, if it is not displaced too, would not have led to anything good.

— Why he sought to remove you from the Kremlin?

— We had a very difficult, strained relationship. Korzhakov did not hide his dislike, even hatred — not so much to me as to my democratic views. He always went beyond his authority, interfered in my Affairs. Implemented, for example, in the structure of the administration of their people — without my knowledge, agreeing, apparently, directly with the President. I was doing everything not to escalate the conflict, has never raised this topic in conversation with Boris Nikolayevich. Perhaps it was a mistake.

— It’s just personal animosity?

— Of course not. It is no secret that Korzhakov and his comrades — Soskovets Oleg Soskovets, at that time first Deputy Prime Minister. — “MK”) and badgers (Mikhail Barsukov, the FSB Director in 1995-1996 — “MK”) advocated the abolition of the presidential election. While I have this idea of completely shared. It is obvious that they saw me as a hindrance and sought to replace the person. That was eventually made: after my resignation, the administration headed by Nikolay Egorov, with whom Korzhakov was in a very close, friendly relations. In addition, there were still a number of significant changes. At the same time I was fired Anatoly Chubais (from the post of first Deputy Chairman of the government. — “MK”) and Andrey Kozyrev (Minister of foreign Affairs. — “MK”) and a bit later Oleg Poptsov (from the post of head VGTRK. — “MK”).

Getting rid of the most active and “inconvenient” to their opponents, korjakova began to implement his plan. The first attempt was made in March 1996, when it was prepared a decree on the postponement of the presidential elections, the dissolution of the state Duma and banning the Communist party. And the President hardly have not signed them. After the venture failed, they went to the other end. Not coincidentally Korzhakov convinced the President to entrust him with control over the financing of electoral campaigns: they were looking for the weakest link, which could be hit. And in the end found organized after the first round of the famous “case of a box from under the copier”. I have no doubt that the purpose of this operation was the failure of the election.

— Well, what was the ultimate goal? Korzhakov and the company expected to receive in the event of cancellation of elections?

— It is better to ask the Korzhakov. But I think the calculation was based on the fact that the situation of emergency will allow them to move away from Yeltsin, members of the democratic camp, to monopolize “access to the body” and thereby make the President completely manageable. That is to say, the minimum program. It is possible that in the future it was planned to force the President to resign, handing over power to their proposed successor. This task was made easier by the poor health of Boris Yeltsin, which Korzhakov knew, probably more than Yeltsin himself: all information about patient No. 1 gathered at the head of the security Service of the President. He could disclose medical records and declare that Yeltsin is no longer able to lead the country.

— Who was supposed to replace Yeltsin?

— Apparently, this quality was considered Soskovets. And it would be a very dangerous scenario. Soskovets — people with very authoritarian views who does not understand or accept democracy.

— Anyway, you are returned to power after the elections ended, and the Trinity of your enemies was fired. Why?

Well, first, at the time after the election I turned 60 years old, and according to us shortly before the Law on civil service is the age limit for officials. Of course, this rule had its exceptions. Officials who do not want to part with his position, had a year to seek permission from his superiors. I thought it was nasty and humiliating. And, besides, I don’t really understand what can take place. In the administration I didn’t expect, and to go to the government, having no experience there, I did not think possible. Therefore, we decided to leave the civil service. What then have never regretted.

— I think you do not fit in the upgraded presidential team. It is known, for example, that you were delighted with the bargain concluded between the government and the oligarchs during the election period: the money for the campaign of Yeltsin in exchange for state ownership and influence on the government.

— Yes, I was opposed to this deal. Though he knew why she was imprisoned. In the initial period of the campaign we had no money even to pay for the hotel, which housed the headquarters. At first we were in “the World” until we were asked to move out. Then moved to “the President-hotel” with the expectation that the Office of the President, in whose jurisdiction was the hotel in any case will not throw us on the street. I said one of our oligarch: “you Guys do realise that if this government will go, you then do not live here. Join the campaign, help with money!” The answer shocked me: “Give five million tons of oil will give the money.”

Sergei Filatov and Boris Yeltsin at the exhibition of works nominated for the State prize in literature and art. Moscow, 1995.

— What do you say to that?

Said he did not expect such a response. And tried not to communicate with that person. But it was clear that he and the other oligarchs will look for other workarounds.

— Unlikely to add you points in the eyes of the high administration and the position taken in the three years before that in the fall of 1993. You were one of the few members of the Yeltsin team, who opposed the decree No. 1400, which terminated the powers of the Congress of people’s deputies and the Supreme Soviet.

— To clarify: I was probably the only one who opposed. When I found out that the draft decree will be discussed at the meeting with the President, then called everyone who was invited to this seminar, Prime Minister, foreign Minister, heads of security agencies… And all said something like: “Guys, it’s a disaster. It is necessary, or to postpone the adoption of the decree, or even to cancel it. Otherwise you can get a monstrous conflict that will not be able to repay without weapons.” And all of them, except Kozyrev and Korzhakov — agreed with me. I swear! The meeting was held in the Kremlin office of the President. I was sitting next to Yeltsin. He outlined his position, said, “Any opinions?” Everyone is silent. I speak: “Boris Nikolaevich, can I?” Yeltsin, who was in a state of extreme stress, hit me on the arm, angrily said: “Your point of view known to us”. After that, all vying to Express their support: “Yes, Boris, of course, is long overdue…”

— And now you think that Yeltsin made a mistake by choosing this solution to the problem?

— I think that Yeltsin should have done it earlier in the spring, immediately after the referendum (at the all-Russian referendum on 25 April 1993, the majority of voters expressed confidence in the President and called for early elections of people’s deputies. — “MK”).

— In the fall it was too late?

— In this form — Yes, later. During the summer Khasbulatov managed to spend a great job, both in Moscow and in the regions, and among the deputies. The public has a little drooped, her Pro-presidential position was not as pronounced as it was in the spring. And then we had all the cards, including the main: people called for the re-election of deputies.

But what is it that you think we should do in the fall? You offered some other way out of the crisis?

— I said to Boris Nikolayevich that the implementation of the decisions provided for in the decree, requires much more serious preparation. We don’t know how people will react, what position will the regions, the army… What if the rise wave, stop that we can’t? In my opinion, ought to act cautiously, carefully, gradually — as we will be ready to stop the possible negative consequences of a step. From time to time a decree would be a secret. I think, incidentally, that if Khasbulatov reported the existence of such a document and that in case of refusal to obey it will be immediately isolated, then it would take considerably less tough.

— Well scenario, involving negotiations and compromises, you have not considered?

— No, at the time such option was not realistic. The confrontation between Yeltsin and Khasbulatov have gone too far, they have a pathological distrust of each other.

But in the end, your fears were exaggerated.

— You know, when, five days after the announcement of the decree on red square were Mstislav Rostropovich, I also thought that fear has big eyes. “Look,” I say to myself, as well: people having fun, all is quiet. Why should I worry?” But it was the only time I had such idea. Then, if you remember, was to break the cordon, the capture of the city hall, to attempt to capture the television station, the storming of the White house… the Amount of blood spilled these days — like the one on the other hand, is not to say that “everything worked”. But it could be much worse: we passed a very fine line separating us from the civil war.

— It is impossible not to recall another victim is a law: like it or not, but from the point of view of the then fundamental law, the President made a coup. That, in fact, confirmed by the constitutional court.

— I have a different logic. In history quite often similar subjects, and if such decisions contribute to the country’s exit from political deadlock, historically they are definitely justified. The President essentially had no choice. The people elected him, entrusted the management of the country, but all power still belonged to the Parliament. Moreover, the Supreme Council has taken to further narrow the scope of presidential powers. In this situation, the President risks losing the confidence of its people if it fails to act.

But it does not become a side effect of this determination, defiance of authority by the Constitution and law in General? Quite many people today share the view that our legal nihilism out of the “overcoat” of 1993.

— Nothing of the kind: the neglect of law in Russia has always existed. We, alas, it’s in the blood. Unfortunately, Yeltsin was unable or unwilling to reverse this trend. If he was pushed into it by circumstances, he quietly turned a blind eye to the limitations prescribed in the basic law, acted at their own discretion.

— Well, Yes, in March 1996, when he was going to cancel the presidential election, to dissolve the state Duma and to ban the Communist party.

— In fairness I must say that the unconstitutional decrees had not been signed. Fortunately, the President of the time realized the catastrophic of this step.

— Did the presidential team plan of action in case of loss of this election? Allowed myself the opportunity?

— In the circles in which I rotate, this possibility is not allowed. Yes, actually, and the reason for the alarm was not. Yes, in the first phase of the campaign problems: the rating of Yeltsin not only did not grow, but in some moments even falling. He arrives, say, in some region where it supports, for example, 11 percent of the population. Goes — 9 percent… in order to understand the causes of failures and to reverse the course of the campaign, were involved in intelligence, conducted extensive sociological research across the country. It allowed to understand how to Yeltsin are in different social strata and in different regions, what issues concern people. Then began a real, purposeful work, and soon we saw that the President’s popularity began to grow.

As I recall, Yeltsin’s rating caught up with Zyuganov on may 21. And then Boris went ahead. However, after the first round, I can not admit, the situation was quite nervous. As the experience of election campaigns in the case that the race leader could not avoid the second round, he usually loses the election. But the solution was found: Swan, ranked third, was the Secretary of the security Council, calling on his supporters to vote for Yeltsin. His electorate with Boris Nikolayevich shared — willingly or unwillingly — and a number of others dropped out of the fight candidates. In this respect, has done a tremendous job.

However, there are different opinions as to how clean was the victory of Yeltsin. Many — including some of those who were then in power, claim that the results were rigged and the true winner was Zyuganov. What can you say to that?

For me there is no such issue. Just no. Remember your feelings before the second round: there was not even a shadow of a doubt that Yeltsin will win. In addition, speaking about the purity of the election, it is necessary to consider that the Federal centre was not then so able to influence the activities of the regional electoral commissions, which it has now. Also don’t forget about the then existing “red belt” — the regions in which the Communists enjoyed strong support in the election. The national republics, especially the Caucasus, too, was unhappy with the President. The reason for this was primarily the war in Chechnya and the failure of the Law on rehabilitation of repressed peoples. In short, no power vertical in its present sense did not exist.

— What can explain such a phenomenon: the rating of Yeltsin, at times growing up before the election in a few weeks, then just as quickly started to deflate?

In my opinion, this is due to two factors. First, disease Yeltsin: the people who voted for him placed their hopes with a healthy and energetic President. Second, the oligarchs who have provided financial support for his election campaign immediately after the election presented bills and began to lay their hands on the power structure. The Kremlin and government offices and the corridors flooded with lobbyists and puppets of financial and industrial groups. It is clear that this has inflicted a painful blow to the image of power, primarily the President.

— Rumor has it that between the Communists and the government was shortly before the election signed a “nonaggression Pact”, an agreement, involving the preservation of the status quo: Zyuganov recognize the official election results, whatever they were, and the government forgets about the idea of the dispersal of the “red” Duma and banning the Communist party. There are, in your opinion, the soil in this version?

— If there was such a “Covenant”, it is clear that he was in a completely closed and very narrow circle of people. But it really seems to be true. Actually, the fact of the agreements between the government and the opposition is nothing wrong or unusual there. I myself, as head of the administration, tried to establish relations with the opposition factions in the Duma.

According to Korzhakov, shortly before the elections, he met with Victor by Zorkaltsev, a state Duma Deputy and member of Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist party. And he allegedly assured him that Zyuganov does not aspire to succeed Yeltsin in the Kremlin. Can you believe that?

— Korzhakov, of course, is not the most reliable source of information, but it is really very similar to the words Zorkaltsev. He met not only with Korzhakov, but lots of other people in power. We were at one time admired his communicative activity. Came Zorkaltsev and me, we had several meetings. Can confirm: in the course of our conversation he constantly stressed the fact that the Communists did not aspire to power, not ready to stand at the helm of the country.

Over the past 20 years, the situation has not changed much: if the power and there are new faces that did not in the result of the election. The last time the opposition came to the arms control in 1991. Does the cost of the path to democracy, which was launched a quarter century ago, such efforts and such sacrifices, if in the end we came almost to where it started, and according to some — retreated even further? Do not feel disappointment?

— Of course, there is disappointment, as many of the achievements of that era today discredited and destroyed. It is clear that Democrats are largely themselves to blame for this development of events: Boris and I and other members of Yeltsin’s team made a lot of mistakes. But not wrong, as you know, the one who does nothing. In addition, our mistakes somehow, there is no Statute of limitations: we never forgave. And not given time to fix.

— What about your mistakes you remember most regret?

— I regret a lot. But first and foremost, perhaps, that the Constitution did not include provisions providing for oversight by the Parliament over the President, the government and other authorities. It was already clear that such mechanisms are necessary, but I am very scared what did Khasbulatov. I was afraid that the power structure can become a toy in the hands of Parliament, and the working group of the constitutional meeting persistently sought not to allow deputies of such powers. But as it turned out, even greater problems arise when the government is left without control.

— What is the reason for pride?

— I think first and foremost it’s still the Constitution, which was given so much power.

— In spite of all its imperfections?

Virtues in her, I think, still greater than the disadvantages. Take at least a priority of international law that has made possible our accession to the Council of Europe and participation in the work of its most important structures — the PACE and the European court of human rights. I know that for many of those who are in power, the Council of Europe is a real thorn in the eye. However, as I was told Putin at a meeting declared firmly that no one dared to think about the exit of international organizations. And that gives us some hope.

Reasons to be proud of, actually a lot: the market economy, privatization of housing, the multi-party system — the list goes on. I am sure that sooner or later the Yeltsin era will remember with gratitude. And, of course, we can be proud that we managed to avoid reprisals against its political opponents. We didn’t avenge anyone, no one was shot, persecuted, forced to emigrate… Today, when the authorities learned from the old ideological Arsenal of the term “fifth column”, a legacy of the 90s is becoming, I think, special significance.

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