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Was Putin doing politics during these years? According to some in the fall of 1994 he was supervising the pre-elections to Saint Petersburgs legislative assembly. Since about half of the seats in the assembly went to businessmen loyal to the city hall as well as center and moderately democratic politicians, his supervision, if there was any, can be considered more or less successful.

In the beginning of 1995 Putin obtained the removal of the candidacy of the rear admiral Vyacheslav Sherbakov to the legislative assemblys speaker post, unacceptable for Sobchak. The more neutral Yuri Kravtzov was elected as a speaker in a same bunch with the speaker deputies and independent deputies Sergey Mironov (now head of the RF Federal Assembly) and Viktor Novoselov (later killed).

In April 1995 Viktor Chernomirdin charged Sobchak creating a regional department of the movement Our House Russia in Saint Petersburg. After all the party in power was preparing for the elections and it was clear that the people will not vote for Gaidar who has robbed them and his party. A fictive party was hastily created right for the elections. Sobchak in his turn charged Putin with the creation of the regional fictive organization of a fictive party. In the beginning of May Putin headed the organizational committee of Saint Petersburgs department of the Our House Russia party and was elected as the councils chairman on its constitutive conference. In Moscow on May 12th 1995 on the OHR constitutive congress Putin was elected as one of the 126 members of the OHR Assembly.

In summer and fall 1995 Putin was leading the OHR campaign for the State Duma elections. He showed the qualities of a perfect finance manager in such a way that he managed to raise almost 1 billion 100 million rubles (non-dominated) provided by Saint Petersburgs banks while only 15 million rubles were transferred to Saint Petersburg from the OHR central quarters. It is revealing that if the OHR election campaign was financially overflowed with the money provided by Putin, the political result was a failure. The OHR candidate, the only one for some reason put in one of Saint Petersburgs first-past-the-post districts, has lost the elections, while in the proportional system OHR occupied the third place in the city after Yabloko and Russias Democratic Choice, receiving two seats. Who got one of them you think? Sobchaks wife Lyudmila Narusova.

The posters with the picture of Viktor Chernomirdin plastered on almost every lamppost in the city were an example of the lack of political judgment from the organizers of the OHR campaign. When he was asked Why? Putin has then answered: You cant spoil porridge with butter. And we too, the Russian people have thought: Why should they go to waste? The nonsense with Chernomirdins portraits (I explain for the slow ones) is that Chernomirdin was not running in Saint Petersburg.

However, in cases where Putin was convincing and acting behind the scene he was able to achieve something. It is considered that Putin managed to obtain the passing of the 1996 budget in the legislative assembly. In exchange for the ratification of the budget the deputies received the right to the so-called deputies reserve funds. (We, Russian people, call this deputies bribing). Putin also assisted the formation of the Mariinskaya fraction in the legislative assembly headed by the first vice-speaker Sergey Mironov; the fraction supported the city halls policies.

In January 1996 Putin joined the manufacturers and businessmens club Club-2004 created to support Saint Petersburgs candidacy for the 2004 Olympic games. It remains a mystery whether he considered himself a manufacturer or a businessman. And in March 1996 he joined the staff of Saint Petersburgs regional department of the All-Russian movement of social support of the president, where were reunited organizations in favor of B. Yeltsins reelection as the RF president.

It is striking but despite the failure on the State Duma elections, in April-May 1996 Putin was appointed by Sobchak (together with Alexey Kudrin) to lead Sobchaks campaign for the elections of Saint Petersburgs governor. Why did Sobchak decided to appoint him, who has failed the Duma elections? Most probably the answer should be looked for in the events of March 1996. In March 13th 1996 Putin arrived to the legislative assembly with a decree from president Yeltsin allowing reporting the elections and then managed to practically force the deputies to adopt a resolution about reporting the elections from June 16th to May 19th 1996. The shortening of the pre-electoral campaign duration was advantageous for Sobchak because his opponents were not so publicized as he was.

As it is known Sobchak lost the May 19th elections. It was the fault of Putin, his campaign manager, but Sobchaks as well. During the campaign Putin came up with and realized a not so bright idea about making a public (in the presence of the press) loyalty oath to Sobchak by the top-management of Saint Petersburgs administration. During the campaign Petrosovets chairman Alexandr Belyaev, Sobchaks opponent in the elections accused Putin of management violations and also of having real estate on France Atlantic coast. In response Putin sued him for moral damage and asked a compensation of 200 million non-dominated rubles. However since the suit was not addressed to Belyaevs residence, no action was taken. One of the newspapers has then published an article entitled A spy must know where his respondent lives. The press was affirming that Putin despite his service in the foreign intelligence service claimed, He doesnt know where Frances Atlantic coast is.

After Sobchaks defeat Putin resigned from all of his posts in the Saint Petersburgs administration. Putins last service to his boss, the ex-mayor, was the organization of his escape. On Sobchaks demand, in the midst of the apartment scandal (Sobchak was accused of corruption, in particular of appropriating a luxurious apartment) he was moved by the RUBOP first to the Military-medical academy where Yuri Shevchenko (under president Putin he later became the health ministry in Kasyanovs government) diagnosed Sobchak with heart failure, because of which he needs to be hospitalized and cannot be interrogated by the investigators for some time. And a day later Shakhanov and Milin, already known by their search at Shutovs house in 1991, and also the head of Saint Petersburgs FSB department Alexandr Grigoriev supposedly have executed an operation consisting of bringing Sobchak out to France. It should be reminded that Sobchak returned in Russia right after Putin became the prime minister. And shortly and conveniently died in Kaliningrad in February 2000, as if not to hamper his deputy from following his glorious path to the top. Doubtlessly Sobchak knew as much about Putin as Putin knew and knows about Sobchak.

The city s attorney Vladimir Yeryomenko sent Sobchak a representation about incorrectly formulated CER agreements and some licenses. | Limonov vs. Putin | A SOLID MANAGER