Thursday, August 10, would have turned 80 years to the first mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak. Students Sobchak, Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev and many others now run Russia. He himself at the end of life was forced to leave the country, and then returned and soon died. It is not surprising that his name is overgrown with legends and myths. We were asked to comment on these legends of those who beheld the events associated with the rise and fall of Sobchak — including Lyudmila Narusova and Alexander Korzhakov.
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Legend No. 1: test for Putin
Folklore says that when the first President of Russia Boris Yeltsin was determined to leave his throne and began looking for a successor, he made between his security forces a kind of relay race: who first catches Sobchak and deliver it to the “Matrosskaya Tishina”.
The first of Anatoly Alekseevich found the then head of the FSB, Putin only took him no where said, and in Paris. Then confessed to the President: say, guilty, I’m sorry, I missed it. According to this legend it was then that Yeltsin realized that the man who betrayed his master and saved, it can be a successor. “I do not pass Sobchak, and I will not surrender”. This legend says Professor of history, head of the Institute of mass media, Russian state University for Humanities Nikolai Svanidze:
— I heard this myth. Very beautiful version, which has a right to exist, although it, like every fairy tale, and embellished. I do not think that Yeltsin decided to use Sobchak as a bait to check on the loyalty of his associates, but I agree that the first President of Russia could pay attention to how Putin is risking his career, defended his former boss. Yeltsin could understand that Vladimir Vladimirovich is not their rents, and to think about the fact that Putin to appoint a successor. Truth in this legend, I think he does.
Another legend about Sobchak: he was the author not the Constitution that is in force now…
— Unfortunately, in our country, the Constitution is not working. The basic law in edition Sobchak (as I imagine it) would be little different from the Constitution Shakhrai. Both the people’s democratic aspirations, but we have not the Constitution, not the laws, and the concept of a totalitarian country. Our problem is not that the Constitution is bad, and that she shelved it and nobody gets to read. On it nobody pays attention.
— We wrote different versions of the Constitution — said the “MK” the former Deputy Prime Minister, one of the sponsors of the Constitution Sergei shahrai. — The referendum made the text written by the group in which I participated. Sobchak opposed my text at the presidential Council, it is very hard and, in my opinion, unfairly criticized our draft Constitution, but it did not affect our relationship.
I’ve had the good fortune to sit in on meetings of the USSR Supreme Soviet, and the Committee on legislation next to Anatoly Sobchak. I then created an electronic voting system for our Parliament. And seen two different appearance of one person: at a public sessions Sobchak was a fiery orator, a tribune, and at meetings of the Committee corrosive attorney who is not trying to make an impression and catches inaccuracies of documents. When he became Governor of St. Petersburg, he helped my mom get an apartment. She, like everyone, lived in a communal and endlessly waiting for personal housing. Anatoly pushed the solution to the problem not only for her but for many veterans. I was then the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia and could solve the problems of mom and myself. But Sobchak decided not to question it — he helped many people in the most difficult time.
Legend No. 2: democracy was invented by Sobchak
At the end of perestroika, the eighties after the first Congress of people’s deputies emerged interregional group of deputies, led by Sakharov, a former but disgraced Luzhkov, Yeltsin, and anyone not particularly well-known Professor Sobchak. Now many believe that he was the main engine of democratic reform.
Today is very difficult to say who is the founder of democracy in our country because of democracy in Russia, — told “MK” Nikolai Svanidze. — Hard to be a founder of what is not. Sobchak, without a doubt, one of the founding fathers of Russia of the nineties. Then the democracy we had.
But Sobchak, as mayor, dispersed the St. Petersburg Parliament. And, in fact, gave a hint Yeltsin as to disperse the Russian Parliament in 1993…
He undid the city Council, which ceased to be legitimate. But did it without tanks, but only the power of his word.
In 1996 Sobchak, whose team was Putin (then the head of the election headquarters), and Medvedev has lost elections of the mayor of St. Petersburg. How is it that after such a heavy defeat this team for the past 18 years is at the helm of the country?
– Putin was not yet the experienced political fighter, he’s in the mid-nineties was an important figure in Sobchak’s team, but have not had experience of political victories. And Sobchak during his first term as mayor was faced with the most difficult years in the history of the country.
The mayor blamed the problems he can’t solve, and it residents of the Northern capital tired. And then the elections were fair, no administrative resource. In a fair election, anything can happen. Churchill, one of the greatest Britons of all time, lost the election after the victory over Germany… Sobchak lost. Maybe it was not entirely successful election campaign, but fair, in which there is no fraud and the man in power, has a chance to lose.
— This honest defeat, without the inclusion of administrative resources, is tantamount to victory?
— No, it was defeat. But the defeat in fair elections. Sobchak was nothing to be ashamed of.
He was a politician of the new generation, to whom people looked into my eyes, which was listening. In the late eighties, tired of the vague Soviet leaders the country wanted to see new people. These people needed the courage to Express themselves, because they could get to places not so remote. And one of the most prominent of these people was Anatoly Sobchak.
And the fate of Leningrad, he just played a historic role. He will remain in the memory of Petersburgers forever as the man who restored to the city its original name. Becoming mayor in harsh confrontation with the remaining from Soviet times deputies Sobchak democratically convinced residents that their city should be called St. Petersburg. Perhaps most importantly, he will go down in history.
— Why the person who was at the forefront of reforms that created modern Russia, was in disgrace and in recent years has been forced into hiding?
— Sobchak was a bright man with a bright destiny. And the first President of Russia Boris Yeltsin, too, was a bright man. And bright people don’t always develop between a warm relationship. Sobchak was more of a tribune, an orator, a new country was required crisis management. And he lost the election, perhaps a more effective Manager Yakovlev.
But if we pay attention to who today leads our country, we will notice that all our modern authorities — the people from Sobchak. And they are at the helm for a very long years. Without Sobchak, there would be neither President Putin nor Medvedev. So, being not the best handyman in the frames, it still understood well.
— As Sobchak managed to build a team that to this day rules the country? — refer the matter to Sergei Shakhrai.
— He could hear a large number of people, and if believed them to be functionally useful, supported. Someone will say, what did he do to staffing error, it was indecipherable, but the fact remains: people who came to him in the city administration, now run the country.
— Sobchak was a supporter or a competitor of Yeltsin?
— Yeltsin needed to know the opinion of Sobchak. Possible to do the opposite, but to hear his position for the first Russian President was important.
— Why, then, Yeltsin did not interfere with the criminal persecution against Sobchak at the end of his reign?
We can’t say that he did not interfere. Yeltsin did not believe that Sobchak is guilty of something, but used the story to understand people from their environment.
Legend No. 3: Sobchak wanted to be President
In 1996, when he was supposed to go to the presidential election, the rating of the incumbent Boris Yeltsin was very low. Struggled for power by the Communists. A liberal society, according to legend, wanted to build on the presidential throne of Anatoly Sobchak.
— He could become President, agrees the widow of Sobchak Lyudmila Narusova. Anatoly became the moral leader during its first performances in the Soviet congresses. His statement, the country looked like “17 moments of spring”. He was talking about what people in the kitchen whispering. For example, about the tragic events in Tbilisi in 1989, when peaceful civilians were killed on Rustaveli Avenue. Sobchak, describing the collision of Georgian citizens with the Soviet security forces, said the sentence, which is relevant today: “the Truth has no nationality”. And she’s made lots of enemies. I was scared after each of his performances: I was afraid that he was not there.
— Who was the chief Democrat of the emerging new Russia?
— Of Course, Sobchak. Yeltsin was a product of the old Soviet nomenklatura. Yes, he was a Titan, he was the engine of change, but he always remained a man of the old era. And people from a cross-regional group — Sobchak, Sakharov, Popov was out of the party, and in academia. They never were an item, understood the corrupt system and built a new era. The merit of Yeltsin is that he listened to these people, sometimes relied on them. But the experience of the Soviet leadership forced him to betray them, and to make mistakes.
— So what happened between Sobchak and Yeltsin in the late nineties, when Alexander Anatolievich, had to flee to Paris?
He’s not running, and Putin will never evacuated. I took him because he had heart problems and the doctors did not want to treat it. He ceased to be human, which should help the “Kremlin medicine” and the other was not.
Anatoly fell into disgrace in 1996, before the election of the Governor of St. Petersburg. Yeltsin was told that if you give Sobchak’s re-election for mayor, he will immediately become eligible for the presidency in Russia. Sobchak was not going to make excuses, but only criticized Yeltsin for many of his actions, including the war in Chechnya. In the end, the St. Petersburg election, Sobchak lost (Moscow helped his opponent), and information killers had a hand in the fact that he had very serious problems not only with law enforcement agencies, but also with the heart. The paradox: the law on the freedom of speech was written by Sobchak, and he also became his victim. It worked out all the dirty media technologies, which later were used against other unpopular politicians.
But the defeat of Sobchak in the elections for Governor in 1996, I would have brought in a number of victories. Its backlog from the winner has made a microscopic quantity — one apartment building. But he had so much faith in the honesty of elections that didn’t even go to a recount, although its ability to allow all to check and even change the numbers.
Legend No. 4: the persecution of Sobchak organized Korzhakov
Head of protection of President Yeltsin Alexander Korzhakov agreed to comment on this legend:
– I never pursued Sobchak, and always defended him. I was acquainted with Yeltsin, but they are hard to close. Well, see for yourself: Yeltsin said tongue-tied, and Sobchak — the speaker from God. He is a great lawyer, and no Yeltsin.
In the group of Sugars Yeltsin, Anatoly Sobchak was the best because the first one had problems with diction, the second — with oratory skills. But the only problem Sobchak was the strabismus, but after the collapse of the Soviet Country he fixed it.
But Sobchak and Boris Yeltsin was need each other, and I knew it. Even though he knew that Yeltsin greatly afraid. And after the first post-Soviet years of power the angry clouds over Sobchak thickened: Yeltsin was responsible for all the troubles that happened in the country, and Sobchak was seen as the Savior of a single city. Agree that jealousy in this case is inevitable. So Boris shied away from him, and only thanks to me he he was.
I was engaged in organization of protection Sobchak, while his opal did not coincide with mine. He lost the election on 2 June, and after a few weeks fired me. And I lost the opportunity to help him. Say that then helped Sobchak and former subordinates of Putin and Medvedev. I believe in it. It is clear that all the current government is a team of Sobchak. He was the personnel Department, which created the entire top leadership of our country. But to assess his contribution to history, you need to look at this guide us narukovodit.