Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:10 am

Godfather of the Kremlin? The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism and Boris Berezovsky and the looting of Russia.
by Paul Klebnikov
Dec 30, 1996, 12:00am
Posted 6 March 2003



Power. Politics. Murder. Boris Berezovsky could teach the guys in Sicily a thing or two.

LAST NOVEMBER Ronald Lauder, billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder cosmetics fortune, traveled to Moscow to celebrate the opening of a posh boutique on Red Square. That evening Russian and American business leaders, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and President Boris Yeltsin's wife attended a party in Lauder's honor.

The host of the lavish affair? A wealthy Russian car dealer named Boris Berezovsky.

Ronald Lauder probably did not know that his host is a powerful gangland boss and the prime suspect in Russia's most famous murder investigation. Explains Lauder: "The invitations went out in President Yeltsin's name."

That Berezovsky can thus play cozy with Russia's president explains a lot of what is happening in Russia these days. Russia is a bubbling cauldron of criminal organizations--Sicily on a giant scale. Last year some 40,000 people were murdered in Russia and 70,000 disappeared--probably never to be heard of again. The murder rate in Russia is three or four times higher than in New York City.

Assassination is a tool of business competition. Scores of business leaders and media personalities have been killed. Ivan Kivelidi, a banker and founder of the Russian Business Roundtable, was murdered last year by poison (an obscure nerve toxin) applied to the rim of his coffee cup. Neither this nor any other of Russia's most famous contract killings has been solved.

In this violent world Boris Berezovsky looms like a giant shadow. Berezovsky recently claimed that he and six other top businessmen control 50% of the Russian economy. He is certainly one of the country's first dollar billionaires.
His base is Logovaz, Russia's largest car dealership, but this is only the most visible tip of a golden iceberg.

In a recent interview with FORBES Berezovsky said: "Russia is undergoing a redistribution of property on a scale unprecedented in history. No one is satisfied--neither those who got nothing, nor those who got something, since even they feel they did not get enough."

Berezovsky is clearly one of those who never feels he has enough.

This summer FORBES reporters traveled 700 miles east of Moscow, to the place where Boris Berezovsky made his first millions: the Volga River town of Togliatti. This is home to Avtovaz, Russia's largest automobile manufacturer. There, eight years ago, Berezovsky founded Logovaz, taking the giant automaker as partner and reinforcing the relationship with cross-shareholding and numerous joint ventures.

What's his role today in the giant auto company? When FORBES asked Avtovaz President Alexei Nikolaev about his ties to Boris Berezovsky, the industrial manager and his aides exchanged worried looks. "We no longer have direct links with Logovaz," Nikolaev mumbled.

Mumbling--or--silence is a normal response when someone brings up the name Berezovsky.

What is undeniable is that in addition to his auto dealership Berezovsky controls Russia's biggest national TV network. His control was solidified shortly after the first chairman of the network was assassinated gangland-style. Berezovsky was immediately fingered by the police as a key suspect, but the murder remains unsolved two years later.

Why did the police fail to follow up? Possibly because they were afraid of where the trail would lead if they looked too closely. In Russia today gangsters thumb their noses at the police because they have protection from the very top.

And the gangsters, in turn, are often necessary for the men at the top. Such is the Russian business environment today that the men at the top often have use for the shadowy army of killers and thugs who work further down in the scale of corruption, running prostitutes and protection rackets. The old KGB, a gangster outfit itself, used to call this side of things "wet affairs." Every large business in Russia today has its own department of wet affairs.

Me, a gangster? Berezovsky is quick to take the moral high ground. "The Western press portrays Russia unfairly," he says. "Russian business is not synonymous with the Mafia."; But isn't the government powerless to bring any of the thousands of mobsters to justice? Oh, yes, says Berezovsky, but don't blame him. "In the government," he says, "there are many people who are criminals themselves."

Berezovsky should know. He stands close to political power. He organized Russia's most powerful bankers in support of President Yeltsin's presidential campaign earlier this year. "It is no secret that Russian businessmen played the decisive role in President Yeltsin's victory," says Berezovsky. "It was a battle for our blood interests."

Berezovsky and friends did whatever was necessary to prevent the Communists from gaining a victory. The Yeltsin campaign is facing allegations of massive financing violations. Legally, each party's campaign was limited to $3 million. The Yeltsin campaign is estimated to have spent at least $140 million.

As in the U.S., most people in Russia who give big money to political campaigns hope for favors. The difference is that in Russia the payoff is often very direct. After Yeltsin's reelection Berezovsky was appointed deputy secretary of the National Security Council, the body responsible for coordinating military and law enforcement policy.

The fox now guards the chickens.

In appearance and in background, Berezovsky is no thug. Boasting a Ph.D. in applied mathematics, the 50-year-old Berezovsky says he spent 25 years doing research on decision-making theory at the Russian Academy of Sciences. He speaks nervously, articulately, waving a hand still scarred from an assassination attempt two years ago.

He first appeared on the business scene in 1989, when he started Logovaz for automaker Avtovaz. The original purpose was to develop management software, but Berezovsky moved quickly into selling cars. Within four years he was the largest Avtovaz dealer in the country, accounting for more than 10% of its Russian sales.

While Berezovsky waxes rich, however, Avtovaz is, by his own statement, "in terrible shape." Why? Many parts and even whole cars are simply stolen from the factory, only to turn up soon after in criminally connected auto dealerships. The stolen cars are usually in very good shape. Not so with cars ordered directly from Avtovaz or from independent dealers, which often arrive with windshields smashed, wiring pulled out or tires slashed.

Asked about the problem of gangsters controlling his dealer network, Avtovaz's president, Alexei Nikolaev, admits: "The problem exists."

To understand the economics of the problem, examine the pricing structure. Dealer markups are huge: Avtovaz sells the typical Lada sedan to the dealer for about $4,800; but the dealer sells the car to the consumer for $7,500. In short, the dealer, not the factory, makes the profit.

Not only do the dealers make most of the money, they even finance themselves with company money. It works like this: To get a car in Russia, a consumer usually must pay upfront. However, the dealer often doesn't pay the factory until long after he has sold the vehicle.

Not only were the dealers in control of large amounts of other people's money, they were making huge inflationary profits. During 1992-94, inflation often reached 20% a month; thus, by delaying payment to Avtovaz for, say, three months, a dealer ended up paying half price for his cars.

"These guys are criminals on an outrageous scale. It's as if Lucky Luciano were chairman of the board of Chrysler."

In the past two years, with the ruble stabilizing, a dealer could invest his cash in three-month Russian T bills, which, until recently, had annualized dollar yields of 100% or more.

Currently dealers owe the carmaker some $1.2 billion, about one-third of the company's sales.

Why does Avtovaz continue to sell to the gangster-dealers who are bankrupting the company? Carrot and stick. The carrot: an envelope full of cash to car executives. The stick: a bullet in the head.

"These guys are criminals on an outrageous scale," says one American businessman who supplies parts to Avtovaz. "It's as if Lucky Luciano were chairman of the board of Chrysler."
This businessman had to make big payments to a Lausanne, Switzerland-based company called Forus Financial Services, which he says is owned by Avtovaz managers.

And who is the biggest car dealer of them all and a key figure in Avtovaz? Boris Berezovsky.

In 1993 Berezovsky launched another project, grandly entitled the All-Russian Automobile Alliance (AVVA). AVVA sold $50 million worth of bonds to Russian investors, promising to pay them back with new cars at some future date. The idea was to use the money to set up a new assembly line for Avtovaz cars.

Not until 1996 did AVVA begin investing in a small assembly operation in Finland. For nearly three years, in other words, Berezovsky had the AVVA money to play with as he pleased.

While AVVA investors waited in vain for their cars and Avtovaz slid deeper toward bankruptcy, Berezovsky acquired $300 million worth of prime real estate in Moscow and St. Petersburg. He bought one of Russia's most respected newspapers, Nezavisemaia Gazeta, a popular newsmagazine and part of a new TV station called TV 6. He has acquired at least 80% of Sibneft, one of Russia's largest oil companies.

"Oil is good security for loans," he says. "Owning an oil company opens the door to acquiring other businesses." Acquire them for what? To run? Or to loot?

Russia's national airline, Aeroflot, is one of the country's top export earners, but it has cash problems. Same story as with autos: The travel agents get paid up front by the customers, but pay Aeroflot either very slowly or not at all. They get the float; Aeroflot gets questionable receivables, which, if paid at all, get paid in depreciated currency.

Now meet Aeroflot's deputy director, Nikolai Glushkov. This gentleman has an interesting background. He was convicted in 1982 under Article 89 of the Russian criminal code (theft of state property). Later Glushkov served as head of finance for Avtovaz and was one of the founders of Logovaz. In short, an associate of Berezovsky. Are Glushkov and Berezovsky in cahoots to siphon money from Aeroflot? The parallels with Avtovaz are certainly striking.

According to Moscow police reports, Berezovsky started his auto dealership in close collaboration with the powerful Chechen criminal gangs. Presumably they provided him with physical protection--a "roof," as it's called in Russian slang.

But two years ago the Solntsevo gang began to muscle in on the Chechens' control of the Moscow auto market. When the Russian gangsters approached Berezovsky about an alliance, he is reported by one police detective to have said: "I already have a roof. Talk to the Chechens."

The "conversation" between the Russian and the Chechen gangsters over the Moscow auto market took place outside a Logovaz showroom, near the Kazakhstan Cinema. In the ensuing gun fight, six Chechens and four Russians were killed.

Berezovsky says he remembers the 1994 shootout but doesn't know what it was about.

Shortly after, Berezovsky barely escaped death himself. He was being driven out of his office complex, sitting in the back of his Mercedes 600, with his driver and bodyguard in the front, when a remote-controlled car bomb exploded next to the car, decapitating the driver. Berezovsky got away with burns to his hands and face. A few days after that, the headquarters of Berezovsky's Obedinenyi Bank were bombed. No culprits were ever identified. They rarely are in Russia. Says Berezovsky: " I am not one of those people who seeks vengeance."

Maybe not, but people who have stood in his way have sometimes met bloody ends. The most famous death came with Berezovsky's move into TV broadcasting.

Two years ago Vladislav Listiev was Russia's most popular talk show host and its most successful TV producer. Listiev had recently persuaded the government to privatize Channel 1, Russia's biggest nationwide TV network. In early 1995 Listiev was named head of the reorganized company, now known as ORT (Russian Public Television).

The government kept 51% of ORT; a group of well-connected businessmen got the rest. Leading the businessmen was Berezovsky, who acquired 16% of the stock for a mere $320,000.

Listiev had no intention of being a figurehead. He decided to clean up the network's unsavory connections. His main target was Sergei Lisovsky, a 36-year-old advertising man who made his first fortune from a chain of Moscow discotheques. These glittering dives were known as good places to procure drugs. They were a haunt of Russia's crime bosses.

From discos, Lisovsky moved into advertising. To buy time on any of the top five Russian TV channels you must go through Lisovsky or an allied company. Here, as in cars and airline tickets, the middleman seems to have captured the float. This year advertisers will pay about $80 million to buy time on ORT. The money goes first to the media sales company, which then pays the network. But companies like Lisovsky's Premier SV were keeping most of the money while government subsidies (some $250 million) were keeping the TV network operating.

Why is organized crime so powerful? "In the government there are many people who are criminals themselves," says Berezovsky.

Lisovsky's business has been connected with some unsavory characters. One of Premier SV's founding shareholders, Sergei Antonov, has been arrested by the Moscow police on racketeering charges. The chief financial officer of Premier SV, according to police investigations, is Alexander Averin. Known in the underworld as "Avera Junior," Averin is important for his family connections--his older brother, Viktor, is the right-hand man of "Mikhas," a former hotel waiter, now boss of the notorious Solntsevo Gang; Mikhas was recently arrested on money laundering charges in Switzerland.

This was the crowd that Vladislav Listiev, the TV producer, decided to take on.

On Feb. 20, 1995 Listiev announced that he was breaking Lisovsky's advertising monopoly and instituting a temporary moratorium on advertising until ORT could work out new "ethical standards."

"I knew he would be killed--the people he was dealing with were totally criminal," says one close friend of Listiev's. Two weeks later Listiev was gunned down by professional assassins at the entrance to his apartment building.
FORBES has obtained documents on the case from the organized crime unit of the Moscow police department.

According to these documents, Listiev knew that he was a marked man. He knew law enforcement authorities in Russia are powerless against the kind of opposition he faced. So Listiev gathered a group of his closest friends and explained the reason he might be killed.

This is the tale he told them.

When Listiev announced that he would be ending the advertising monopoly, Lisovsky demanded $100 million in damages. Listiev found a European company (name undisclosed) willing to buy the ORT advertising franchise. Listiev asked Boris Berezovsky to act as transfer agent and hand over the $100 million to Lisovsky. Berezovsky took the cash and stalled Lisovsky; he would get his money in three months, Berezovsky explained.

Thus the reforming Listiev was caught between two ruthless characters. He paid with his life.

Now Berezovsky effectively controls ORT with 36% of the network's voting stock, and Lisovsky is again the sole agent for its advertising. In June Sergei Lisovsky was caught by security guards as he was coming out of Russian government headquarters with $500,000 stuffed into a cardboard box. The matter is still "being investigated."

The public outcry over Listiev's death was immense. Thousands of mourners showed up at his funeral. But the subsequent investigation was a tragic farce. Lisovsky's and Berezovsky's offices were searched by the police immediately after the murder.

Five months later the federal prosecutor's office announced that it had closed the Listiev case, and identified the names of both the people who ordered the killing and those who had carried it out. The very next day the prosecutor's office recanted, saying that the investigation was continuing. Two months later the prosecutor-general was fired and thrown in jail on charges of corruption.

Berezovsky denies that he had anything to do with Listiev's killing. He blames unnamed advertising and production companies that were being hurt by Listiev's reorganization of the network.



[Team Yeltsin in a traffic jam]


[Felix Braynin] What’s holding us up? What’s the delay?

[Braynin’s Bodyguard] It’s a mafia hit. Head of big television station. Shot in the head in the middle of the street. His body is just lying there. Blood all over.


[George Gorton] Really?
[dials a number on his cellphone]
Joe! When was the last time we did a “From us to you” on the mafia? Yes, we’re still against it! Boris should take the strongest possible stand. How do I tell Tatiana there’s a big job opening at a TV station. Maybe she could pull some strings and get somebody who supports Boris. Yeah. Okay.

-- -- Spinning Boris, written by Yuri Zeltser & Cary Bickley

Did Berezovsky adopt a low profile after the killing? No way. This spring, Berezovsky emerged as a participant in the National Sports Fund, a charity organized by Boris Yeltsin's tennis coach to benefit sports in Russia. Over the past several years the organization has received billions of dollars in revenues from the duty-free importation of alcohol and cigarettes. When at least $100 million went missing earlier this year, the organization was revealed as a massively corrupt racket. Its privileges were withdrawn and the tennis coach was sacked.

The president of the fund was Boris Feodorov, a close ally of Berezovsky. Feodorov gave a newspaper interview in which he claimed that he was being victimized by criminal organizations within President Yeltsin's administration.

In June, before the interview was published, Feodorov was shot and repeatedly stabbed by unknown assailants in Moscow. He survived and fled to Western Europe. Apparently that interview was so close to the truth as to threaten the gangsters and their higher-up accomplices.

Is Boris Berezovsky the godfather of Russia's godfathers? It sure looks that way.


In our Dec. 30, 1996 issue, we published an article about the rise of Boris Berezovsky, a Russian businessman and politician with significant holdings in the automobile, oil, and media industries. Entitled "Godfather of the Kremlin?" the article described the climate of violence that surrounded Russia's transition from a planned to a capitalist economy. It said that Berezovsky has been investigated in connection with the murder of Vladislav Listiev. It also said that Nikolai Glouchkov, a Berezovsky ally and an executive of the Russian airline Aeroflot, had been convicted of theft.

Berezovsky and Glouchkov sued Forbes for defamation. Over six years have elapsed since the article was published and the proceedings were commenced in the UK and it is likely that it would have taken at least two more years before this case came to trial. The article described the conditions in the very turbulent times between the introduction of privatisation and the date the article was written in 1996. The article was about Russians and events that had taken place in Russia. The suit was brought in England, despite the fact that only a small number of magazine copies were distributed there and the subjects of the article were in Russia. Forbes argued that the case belonged in Russian or U.S. courts, but lost this point on appeal to the House of Lords (in a 3 to 2 decision). The English court ruled that under English libel law the article's description of the Listiev case was tantamount to stating that Berezovsky was guilty of murder and that he was a gangland leader running a mafia-style operation.

On 6 March 2003, the resolution of the case was announced in the High Court in London. Forbes stated in open court that (1) it was not the magazine's intention to state that Berezovsky was responsible for the murder of Listiev, only that he had been included in an inconclusive police investigation of the crime; (2) there is no evidence that Berezovsky was responsible for this or any other murder; (3) in light of the English court's ruling, it was wrong to characterize Berezovsky as a mafia boss; and (4) the magazine erred in stating that Glouchkov had been convicted for theft of state property in 1982. Berezovsky and Glouchkov withdrew their suit.

Click here for the Statement in Open Court
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:11 am

U.S. Investigative Journalist Is Shot to Death in Russia
by C. J. Chivers and Sophia Kishkovsky
July 10, 2004



A prominent American journalist who had written incisively about the connections of politics, business and crime in Russia throughout its post-Soviet reorganization was shot to death Friday night outside the magazine offices where he worked.

Paul Klebnikov, the editor in chief of Forbes Russia magazine, was shot four times as he left work and walked toward a nearby subway station, a local radio station reported. The radio cited witnesses who said he was shot by a bearded man who had stepped from a car.

Mr. Klebnikov, 41, had moved to Moscow last year to open Forbes Russia, a Russian edition of the American business magazine, at which he had worked since 1989. Under his editorship, Forbes Russia published its first issue in April.

The magazine was published during a crackdown on the independent media here, but Mr. Klebnikov had vowed he would not be deterred.

''Forbes has over the decades won a reputation for independence, and we don't want to give that away lightly,'' he said at the magazine's introduction.

Mr. Klebnikov's brand of investigative journalism had long irritated many of Russia's elite. The new magazine under his stewardship bore his stamp.

In May it published a list of Russia's 100 wealthiest business people, including 36 billionaires. Such lists are sensitive in a country with high rates of poverty and unemployment and a common belief that many of today's wealthiest Russians had swindled public resources during the early and murky years of post-Communist privatization.

Although no motive for the killing was immediately clear in the hours after his death, the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization based in New York, noted both the difficult climate for the news media here and the sensitivity of the list of 100 wealthiest Russians. It urged the Russian authorities to investigate the case thoroughly.

''Russia is consistently one of the world's most dangerous places to be a journalist, and we call on the Russian authorities to aggressively investigate and prosecute this case,'' said the committee's director, Ann Cooper.

A descendant of émigrés who had fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution, Mr. Klebnikov was born in New York, the son of an interpreter at the United Nations. Like many of these descendants, he had remained deeply connected to his family's heritage, and had traveled to Russia after the Soviet Union's collapse.

As a correspondent with both an economics background and fluency in the Russian language, Mr. Klebnikov was especially well equipped to report on Russia's new political and business class.

In his work, he had been sharply critical of Boris Berezovsky, the media and oil magnate who was influential in former President Boris Yeltsin's administration, but who later sought asylum in Britain, saying he was marked for murder in Russia.

Mr. Klebnikov wrote two books. The first, ''Godfather of the Kremlin: The Decline of Russia in the Age of Gangster Capitalism,'' was a biography of Mr. Berezovsky. The second, ''Conversation With a Barbarian,'' dealt with organized crime in Russia's continuing war in Chechnya.

Mr. Klebnikov was married and left three children. Steve Forbes, president and editor in chief of Forbes, sent condolences to the family in a statement from New York.

''Paul was superb reporter -- courageous, energetic, ever-curious,'' Mr. Forbes said. ''We eagerly anticipated reading his stories. The information was always fresh, insightful, fascinating. He exemplified the finest traditions of our profession and served his readers well.''

The killing of Mr. Klebnikov follows the general tightening of independent news media in Russia. Television here has gradually slipped under effective control of the state. Just hours before Mr. Klebnikov was fatally shot, the program ''Freedom of Speech,'' the last live political talk show in Russia, broadcast what appeared to be its final show. And last month, Leonid Parfyonov, who was host of a popular and provocative current affairs program, was fired after broadcasting an interview with the widow of a former president of Chechnya who was killed by a car bomb in Qatar in February.

Mr. Parfyonov said the authorities had asked him not to broadcast the interview. Two Russian intelligence officers were recently convicted of the killing.

Both of these programs appeared on the network NTV, which had come under serious pressure after a ''Freedom of Speech'' program in October 2002 featured relatives of hostages pleading with the Russian government not to storm a Moscow theater that had been seized by Chechen rebels. The government attacked the theater nonetheless. More than 120 people died.

The channel's troubles began almost immediately after President Vladimir V. Putin came to power. Vladimir A. Gusinsky, the founder and owner of the Media Most empire of which the channel was part, was briefly jailed, then forced to cede control and leave the country.

Erin Arvedlund contributed reporting from Moscow for this article.
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 04, 2018 2:11 am

Alexander Goldfarb (biologist)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/3/18



Alexander Davidovich Goldfarb
Alexander Goldfarb in 2007
Born May 23, 1947 (age 71)
Moscow, Russia
Alma mater Moscow State University (1969)
Occupation Microbiologist, Activist, Author
Known for Co-founder of Litvinenko Justice Foundation

Alexander Davidovich Goldfarb (a.k.a. Alex Goldfarb, Russian: Александр Давидович Гольдфарб) (born 1947 in Moscow) is a Russian-American microbiologist, activist, and author. He emigrated from the USSR in 1975 and studied in Israel and Germany before settling permanently in New York in 1982. Goldfarb is a naturalized American citizen.[1] He has combined a scientific career as a microbiologist with political and public activities focused on civil liberties and human rights in Russia, in the course of which he has been associated with Andrei Sakharov, George Soros, Boris Berezovsky, and Alexander Litvinenko.[2] He has not visited Russia since 2000.[1]

Scientific career

Goldfarb studied biochemistry at Moscow State University and graduated in 1969. After graduation, he worked at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy in Moscow.[3] He emigrated from the USSR in 1975. He received a Ph.D. in 1980 from the Weizmann Institute, one of the only non-governmental producers of polonium, in Israel.

Alexander Litvinenko, one of Berezovsky's closest associates, was murdered in London in November 2006 with a rare radioactive poison, Polonium 210. The British authorities charged a former FSB officer and head of security at ORT, Andrey Lugovoy, with the murder and requested his extradition, which Russia refused.[195] Several Russian diplomats were expelled from UK over the case.

-- Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Back in the west, he continued his research with a post-doctoral program at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. From 1982 to 1991 he was an assistant professor at Columbia University in New York.[4] From 1992 to 2006 he was a faculty member at the Public Health Research Institute in New York where he led a U.S. government-funded study "Structure and Function of RNA Polymerase in E. coli" with a total budget of $7 million.[5] He also directed the project "Treating Multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in Siberian Prisons" funded by a $13 million grant from philanthropist George Soros.[6]


After he emigrated, Goldfarb maintained contact with dissidents in Russia and was a spokesman for Moscow refuseniks.[7] He translated for Andrei Sakharov at press conferences in advance of his 1975 Nobel Peace Prize and helped organize the first American television appearance of Sakharov when Mikhail Gorbachev released the physicist from internal exile.[8][9] From 1984 to 1986 Soviet authorities refused Goldfarb's father permission to leave the USSR after their unsuccessful attempt to make him collaborate and entrap American journalist Nicholas Daniloff.[10][11][12]

Goldfarb was among the first political emigres to return to the USSR after Gorbachev launched his reforms.[13] Impressions of his first visit in October 1987 were published as a cover story in The New York Times magazine under the title "Testing Glasnost. An Exile Visits his Homeland".[14]

The story caught the attention of US philanthropist George Soros, leading to a decade-long association between the two men. According to Soros' biographer Robert Slater, Goldfarb was among the first group of Russian exiles in New York whom Soros invited to brainstorm his potential Foundation in Russia.[15] In 1991 Goldfarb persuaded Soros to donate $100 million to help former Soviet scientists survive the hardships of the economic shock therapy adopted by the Yeltsin government.[16]

From 1992 to 1995, Goldfarb was Director of Operations at Soros' International Science Foundation, which helped sustain tens of thousands of scientists and scholars in the former Soviet Union during the harshest three years of economic reform.[17] In 1994 Goldfarb managed Soros' Russian Internet Project, which built infrastructure and provided free Internet access for university campuses across Russia.[18] That project created a controversy because of a conflict with emerging Russian commercial interests in the ISP field.[19] In 1995, during the first months of the First Chechen War, Goldfarb oversaw a Soros-funded relief operation, which ended disastrously with the disappearance of the American relief worker Fred Cuny.[20] From 1998 to 2000 Goldfarb directed the $15 million Soros tuberculosis project in Russia.[21]
He worked with Dr. Paul Farmer to battle TB in Russian prisons, an endeavor described by the Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder in his book Mountains Beyond Mountains.[22]

Since 2001 Goldfarb has been Executive Director of the New York-based International Foundation for Civil Liberties, founded and financed by the exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.[23]

Involvement in the Litvinenko affair

Goldfarb first met Alexander Litvinenko during his tuberculosis project in Russian prisons. In October 2000, at the request of Boris Berezovsky, Goldfarb went to Turkey where he met Litvinenko and his family, who had just fled from Russia.[24] Goldfarb arranged their entry to the United Kingdom, an offense under British law, for which he was banned from visiting Britain for a year.[1] His involvement would also "...cost him his job with George Soros."[25]

When Litvinenko was poisoned in London in 2006, Goldfarb was his unofficial spokesman during the two last weeks of his life [26] On the day of Litvinenko's death, Goldfarb read out his deathbed statement accusing Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning.[27]

Goldfarb later explained in interviews that he had drafted the statement at Litvinenko's request and that Litvinenko had signed it in the presence of a lawyer.[1] With Berezovsky, Litvinenko's widow Marina, and the human rights lawyer Louise Christian, Goldfarb founded the Litvinenko Justice Foundation to campaign for the truth about his murder, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
[28] He later testified in a libel suit, in which Berezovsky successfully contested the claim by Russian state television station RTR (now Russia 1) that he had murdered Litvinenko.[29][30]

He received a Ph.D. in 1980 from the Weizmann Institute, one of the only non-governmental producers of polonium, in Israel.

-- Alexander Goldfarb (biologist), by Wikipedia


Goldfarb has published in the editorial pages of The New York Times,[31][32] The Washington Post,[33][34][35] Wall Street Journal,[36] The Telegraph,[37] and The Moscow Times.[38] He helped Litvinenko to prepare his book Lubyanka Criminal Group for publication.[39] With Marina Litvinenko, he later co-authored the book "Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB", published in Russian as "Sasha, Volodya, Boris....The Story of a Murder." (Russian)[2] [3], [4].

His books

• Alex Goldfarb and Marina Litvinenko. Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB. Free Press, New York, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4165-5165-2.

Appearances on TV

• Charlie Rose - A conversation with Marina Litvinenko and Alex Goldfarb
• BBC Hardtalk - ... 723863.stm


1. Alex Goldfarb, with Marina Litvinenko Death of a Dissident: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko and the Return of the KGB, The Free Press, 2007, ISBN 1-4165-5165-4.
2. "Гольдфарб, Алекс". Retrieved 2013-07-11.
3. Founders: Alex Goldfarb Archived April 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Litvinenko Justice Foundation
4. "Alexander Goldfarb, Ph.D." Newark, New Jersey: The Public Health Research Institute Center, New Jersey Medical School. Archived from the original on 2008-04-04.
5. ... _id=660646
6. "The PHRI/Soros Russian TB Program ... Treating MDRTB in Siberian Prisons". Newark, New Jersey: The Public Health Research Institute Center, New Jersey Medical School. Archived from the original on 2003-06-27.
7. When They Come for Us, We'll Be Gone: The Epic Struggle to Save Soviet Jewry - Gal Beckerman - Google Books. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
8. Soviet Dissident Credits Westerners For His Emigration, by Clark Mason, The Harvard Crimson, October 30, 1975
10. "KGB Failed in Bid to Frame Detained Journalist in '84, Soviet Emigre Asserts". Los Angeles Times. September 1, 1986.
11. "Soviets Offering New Deal For Daniloff". Chicago Tribune. September 25, 1986.
12. Soviets Free Dissident Who Refused to Entrap Daniloff: Hammer's Jet Brings Him to U.S., Los Angeles Times, October 16, 1986
13. Barringer, Felicity (October 22, 1987). "On Ex-Dissident's Visit, Amazement in Moscow". The New York Times.
14. Goldfarb, Alex (December 6, 1987). "TESTING GLASNOST". The New York Times.
15. "George Soros, The Unauthorized Biography (Robert Slater)". Retrieved 2013-07-11.
16. ... dation.pdf
17. Bohlen, Celestine (December 10, 1992). "American Vows Millions to Ex-Soviet Science". The New York Times.
18. "Internet: High-Speed Network Will Link Russia's Far-Flung Universities". 1996-08-02. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
19. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
20. "The Lost American - Tapes & Transcripts | FRONTLINE". PBS. 1993-10-03. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
21. "Google Drive Viewer". Retrieved 2013-07-11.
22. Kidder, Tracy (January 28, 2001). "Mission impossible (part two)". The Guardian. London.
23. Penketh, Anne (July 6, 2007). "Death of a Dissident, by Alex Goldfarb & Marina Litvinenko". The Independent. London.
24. [1] Archived April 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
25. Masha Gessen, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, Riverhead Books (Penguin Group): New York, NY 2012, ISBN 978-1-59448-842-9.
26. Litvinenko poisoning: the main players, The Guardian, 24 November 2006.
27. "Spy's death-bed Putin accusation". BBC News. November 24, 2006.
29. ... 100310.pdf
30. "Berezovsky wins poison libel case". BBC News. March 10, 2010.
31. Goldfarb, Alex (November 20, 1986). "Gorbachev Loosens the Screws a Bit". The New York Times.
32. "Putin and the Victim". The New York Times. July 4, 2007.
33. Goldfarb, Alex (January 11, 1987). "What Should We Make of Gorbachev?".
34. Goldfarb, Alex (November 2, 1987). "Emigrating From Russia; It's an issue that Reagan and Gorbachev should negotiate at the summit".
35. Goldfarb, Alex (May 10, 1988). "Gorbachev: Still A Long Way to Go".
36. ... 9/article8
37. Goldfarb, Alex (July 18, 2007). "The new Stalins must be kept in check". The Daily Telegraph. London.
38. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-28. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
39. A. Litvinenko and A. Goldfarb. Lubyanka Criminal Group (in Russian) GRANI, New York, 2002. ISBN 978-0-9723878-0-4.
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sat Aug 04, 2018 3:51 am

Boris Berezovsky finances revolutions and plots to overthrow Putin - but it's his newspaper antics that are really entertaining
Last night's TV
Fri 9 Dec 2005 02.26 EST First published on Fri 9 Dec 2005 02.26 EST



The first part of Russian Godfathers (BBC2) was a cracker containing, like all good crackers, a crown, some jokes and (less common this) a crash course in rather coarse Russian.

It could have been another remake of King Kong. Here was Vladimir Putin, clinging ferociously to a large, gold onion on the Kremlin, and flailing at the hornets who buzzed around, determined to torment and topple him. The chief hornet is Boris Berezovsky. When the Soviet Union collapsed, he grew enormously rich and powerful on the pickings, and when Yeltsin collapsed, usually after lunch, Berezovsky choose Putin as his successor. Or, perhaps, as a pun. This was a catastrophic misjudgement. Putin turned on the Russian godfathers.

Berezovsky fled to England, where he was granted political asylum, and lives in some splendour in Surrey with a yacht, a jet and a fountain which seems to grow as you watch it. Ring-fenced by an Interpol warrant for his arrest, he plots to dethrone Putin and gives television interviews. Being in the media business himself.

One of his few remaining assets in Russia is the financial newspaper Kommersant, whose editor, Andrei Vasiliev, shows the exasperation common to all editors with overwhelming proprietors. "Boris says, 'Putin's fucked.' I say, 'You're the big shot. Why don't you explain to me how exactly he's fucked? Is he fucked from the front, from the right or from the left?' But he never can."

In any contest between an ant and a rubber tree plant, the clever money is on the rubber tree plant. But, in the course of this programme, Putin began to wobble.

Berezovsky was indefatigably busy. "It's like Boris always needs a piss," as his editor put it. He undermined Putin in Ukraine by financing a popular revolution. Having gained a toehold there, he started another newspaper.

His newspapers may be a sub-plot to his politics but they amuse me more. Any journalist would enjoy (and recognise) the brainstorming session as the untried staff tried to find a front-page lead. Reporter: "There's a party celebrating 65 years of the Ukranian artist Nicolai Guravsky." Editor: "Who the hell is that?" Reporter, defensively: "He's well known." Editor: "You don't have a clue who he is either." Silence fell with a bump. "So," said the editor, grinding a tooth or two, "in real terms we have fuck all. As you can see," he confided to camera, "they're a hopeless bunch." Berezovsky sent in Vasiliev to teach them how to run a paper and teach us the Russian for shit.

Meanwhile he flew to Latvia to tweak Putin's tail. "Latvia should realise such actions will not go without consequences" said Putin's spokesman grimly. As Berezovsky flew out, the Latvian government was convulsed under his jet like mild turbulence. It hardly shook the wine in his glass. The next time he went to Latvia he took Neil Bush, the brother of George W. This time there was no menacing roar from Russia.

Russian Godfathers is very elegantly made by Patrick Forbes. Or as elegant as you can be with your tongue in your cheek.

When a statement is "tongue in cheek" it is ironic, slyly humorous; it is not meant to be taken seriously, however its sarcasm is subtle.

Though not meant to be taken seriously, it is not overt joking or kidding around, it is "gently poking fun". A "tongue in cheek" statement may have a double meaning, some sort of inuendo or is witty in some way, particularly to the speaker. The tone or the context of the statement may make it to be taken seriously by the listener.

It's origin comes from when Spanish minstrels would perform for various dukes in the 18th century; these dukes would silently chastise the silliness of the minstrel's performances by placing their tongue firmly to the inside of their cheek.

-- Tongue in Cheek, by Urban Dictionary

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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 4:59 am

Marat Guelman
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/4/18



Marat Guelman
Марат Гельман
Guelman in 2010
Born Marat Aleksandrovich Guelman
24 December 1960 (age 57)
Chişinău, Moldavian SSR, Soviet Union
Occupation gallerist, collector, op-ed columnist, art manager, political consultant
Alexander Isaakovich Guelman (father)

Marat Guelman[n 1](Russian: Марат Александрович Гельман; born December 24, 1960 in Chişinău, Moldavian SSR, Soviet Union) is a Russian collector, gallerist, and an op-ed columnist. The former Director of PERMM contemporary art museum in Perm. The Deputy Director of Channel One (Russia) from June 2002 to February 2004. A political consultant, a co-founder of the Foundation for Effective Politics, and a member of Russia’s Public Chamber (2010-2012 convocation).

Guelman has lived in Montenegro from 2014.[1]


Marat Guelman was born on 24 December 1960 in Chişinău. His father is the writer and playwright Alexander Isaakovich Guelman. Upon finishing high school 34 in Chişinău in 1977 Marat Guelman went on to study at Moscow Electrotechnical Institute of Communications while working as a mechanic and a sceneshifter at Moscow Academic Art Theater, Sovremennik and Mayakovsky Theater. He graduated in 1983 earning a degree in engineering.[2]

Guelman worked as an engineer in Chişinău until 1986. After the Soviet era criminal rule on social parasitism was abolished on 1 March 1986 he quit his job to write a novel and to start his own business.

In 1987 Guelman, who had had an interest in art and specifically in contemporary art since his early youth, made his very first art exhibition, displaying the works of Moscow artists in Chişinău.[3] The exhibition was a major success, in terms of both publicity and finance. When he came to Moscow to hand over to the artists the paintings and the money earned from sales, Guelman decided to stay in the capital.[4]

He started his career in arts as a collector,[5] however, having made poor choices for his first collection due to lack of experience he had no choice but to acquire the skills of selling artworks thus becoming the first art dealer in the USSR. In 1990, upon finishing his contemporary art studies abroad, he put together a collection of Ukrainian art, which became the core of South Russian Wave exhibition, shown in 1992,[6] which caught the attention of the publicity and resulted in major feedback. Guelman himself describes his path into art and his career in art as a series of accidents. However, he believes this flexibility and open-mindedness in taking chances to be even more important for success than determination.[7][8]

In 2014 Guelman moved to Montenegro to implement cultural projects in this country. That was also the year when Dukley European Art Community residency program was launched by Neil Emilfarb, Petar Cukovic, and Marat Guelman.[9] The residency program was initially invitation-based, however, it is now open to all artists through an application system. The results of the artists’ work are exhibited on a regular basis. The activities of the residency program have been gradually making significant changes to the cultural status of Kotor, the city hosting the project, and to all of Montenegro. Marat Guelman has chosen this country to further advance and implement his concept of post-economy society and humanitarian engineering[10]

Guelman Gallery

In 1990 Guelman opened his gallery, one of the first Russian private contemporary art galleries.[2] The gallery worked until 2012, changing a few names during its 20-year-long history (Gallery Guelman, M. Guelman Gallery, M. and Y. Guelman Gallery). It also moved three times. From 1992 to 1995 the gallery was based in the Contemporary Art Center in Moscow Yakimanka st., from 1995 to 2007 it was situated in 7/7 Malaya Polyanka st., and from 2007 to 2012 it was set on the premises of Winzavod Contemporary Art Center. Despite the many changes, it was colloquially known as Guelman Gallery all the time[11]

The history of Guelman Gallery more or less depicts the history of contemporary art in post-Soviet Russia. Over the years, the gallery had collaborations with almost every prominent artist of the respective period, from the classics of Moscow conceptualism (Yuri Albert, Igor Makarevich, Vadim Zakharov, Dmitry Prigov), Sots Art (Vitaly Komar & Alexander Melamid, Boris Orlov, Leonid Sokov) and postmodernism (Pavel Pepperstein, Georgy Ostretsov) to St. Petersburg “New Academy” artists (Timur Novikov), to the legendary Mitki group, and Moscow action Art (Oleg Kulik, Anatoly Osmolovsky, Alexander Brener, Oleg Mavromati, Avdey Ter-Oganyan, RADEK group), to South Russian Wave (Alexander Sigutin, Arsen Savadov, Alexander Roitburd, Oleg Golosiy), to the pioneers of media art (Blue Soup group, AES+F, Olga Chernysheva, Vladislav Efimov & Aristarkh Chernyshev); and from painters (Yury Shabelnikov, Valery Koshlyakov, Alexander Vinogradov & Vladimir Dubosarsky, Dmitry Vrubel) to photographers (Boris Mikhailov, ladislav Mamyshev-Monroe), architects (Alexander Brodsky, Alexey Belyaev-Gintovt, sculptors (Dmitry Gutov, Grisha Bruskin, Martynchik couple) and artists who work with installations and new media (Irina Nakhova, Vladimir Arkhipov, Blue Noses group[12] and others).[13][2]

Apart from Russian artists, Guelman exhibited Ukrainian art in his gallery, which was at the very roots of his work as a curator and a gallerist (South Russian Wave exhibition, 1992). A significant share of his collection has always been reserved for Ukrainian art. From 2002 to 2004 there was a local branch of Guelman Gallery in Kiev,[14] managed by Guelman’s friend and one of the artists featured by the Moscow Gallery, Alexey Roitburd.

Besides, in the early 1990s, Guelman was working hard to bring the post-Soviet art back to the international context. First, he established contacts with New York’s leading galleries, which allowed the global art community to have an insight into the art of a large number of Guelman Gallery artists. At the time he also strived to exhibit the international stars in Russia. Amongst other things, during its Yakimanka st. period, Guelman Gallery hosted such landmark events as Andy Warhol’s and Joseph Beuys’s personal exhibitions (Alter Ego, 1994 and Leonardo’s Diary, 1994, respectively).[15]

Running major non-commercial exhibiting events in external spaces was another important activity of Guelman Gallery. The list of major events includes Conversion (Central House of Artists, 1993), Dedicated to the VII Congress of People’s Deputies of Russia (Central House of Artists, 1993), New Money (State Tretyakov Gallery, 2006), Dynamic Couples (Moscow Manege, 2000), South Russian Wave and Nostalgia[16] (State Russian Museum, 2000, which marked the 10th anniversary of Guelman Gallery), Russia 2 (Central House of Artists, 2005), St. Pete Folks: Contemporary Art of St. Petersburg (Central House of Artists, 2005), and a number of other events.[2]

The Gallery participated in international exhibition-related events, festivals, and fairs from the very start of its work. In the early 2000s, it took part in some major international fairs such as FIAC (Paris)[17] and ARCO (Madrid). In 1999 it created the project for the Russian Pavilion at Venice Biennale.

In April 2012, Marat Guelman as well as Elena Selina and Aidan Salakhova, also among Russia’s leading gallerists, announced that they would redesign the operation of their galleries. As a result, Guelman Gallery was closed down. Guelman stated that the main reason behind it was the shrinking of the contemporary art market in Russia due to the general political and economic instability.[18]

The last event hosted by the legendary gallery was Alexey Kallima’s exhibition Consider Yourself Lucky (May–June 2012).[19]

Cultural Alliance

In October 2012 Marat Guelman opened another exhibition space in Winzavod Contemporary Art Center,[20] where the now shut down Guelman Gallery used to be. The Cultural Alliance production center specializes in exhibiting art from Russia’s regions and the Commonwealth of Independent States in Moscow venues. It has hosted exhibitions representing the contemporary art of Kazakhstan, Izhevsk and Perm.

Turning his attention to regional art was not a mere accident for Guelman: from his very first exhibitions back in the 1990s he has engaged in searching for new artists and bringing them to Moscow. He is the person who “discovered”, amongst other artists, the Novosibirsk-based Blue Noses group,[4] as well as many artists from St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, and Ukraine.

The name of the gallery, as well as a significant part of its concept, comes from the Cultural Alliance association, founded by Guelman in 2010 in collaboration with the United Russia political party. It was designed as an association of Russian cities which have their own lively scene in the domain of contemporary culture. Within the time frame of two years the association run two major festivals and about ten exhibitions, which have shown that even far away from Moscow “there are peculiar art communities, that provincial artists do not feel completely disconnected from the art scene of the capital and even from the international art scene, that they speak the language of contemporary art bridging the gaps of geography and biography”.[21]

In 2012, Guelman suspended his collaboration with the Russian regime.[22][23] However, he did not cease his activities aimed at boosting the development of culture in the Russian regions. The Cultural Alliance Gallery at Winzavod Art Center came to be the result and the successor of such activities.[24]

The 2011 Art Against Geography, held within the 4th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, came to be another landmark event that shaped the concept of the gallery. It revealed a new situation in the Russian art, in which the Russian regions network and collaborate with the Russian art community in order to overcome the depression of the territory with their own efforts, skipping the regional Ministries of Culture, the state museums, and other official institutions.[25]

The Cultural Alliance Gallery has become a prominent venue in Moscow, specialized in exhibiting the art of the Russian regions in the capital with the prospect of introducing it to the global art community, meaning that the gallery is dedicated to representing contemporary Russian art rather than contemporary Moscow art.[26]

Perm Museum of Contemporary Art

In 2008, Marat Guelman ran the exhibition Russian Povera in Perm.[27] The exhibition, supported by Sergei Gordeev, the Representative of the Administration of Perm Region in the Federation Council of Russia, came to be a landmark project for Guelman in terms of his work as a curator. The exhibition included the works of the most prominent Russian artists of today, both of those renowned (Yuri Albert, Vladimir Arkhipov, Dmitry Gutov, Nikolay Polissky, Leonid Sokov, Igor Makarevich, Alexander Brodsky, Yury Shabelnikov, Sergei Shekhovtsov, and others) and young (Recycle, Anya Zholud, Zhanna Kadyrova, Ilya Trushevsky). It was held on the premises of Perm River Terminal, which was at the time out of work and rundown, restored to the minimum level required for the exhibition at Gordeev’s expense.

45 thousand people came to see the exhibition within the scheduled one-month duration period, and it was extended for one more month at the request of the citizens. The case of the Russian Povera and its huge success paved the beginning of a large-scale project aimed at making Perm the “cultural capital” of Russia.[28] The River Terminal, which had hosted Russian Povera, now restored and revamped, became the seat of Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (PERMM).[29]

Marat Guelman became the head of the Museum as its Director. His activities at this post provoked criticism from certain Perm art workers as early as 2009.[30] Alexey Ivanov, a renowned writer, who has a degree in the history of art, claimed that “the Museum fed on vast amounts of money, basically all of the local budget for culture”, pointing out that as much as 90 million rubles had been provided for PERMM, while Perm Art Gallery had been provided with only 30 million rubles.[31] Ivanov accused Moscow art workers of delivering overpriced projects and services. When Marat Guelman was awarded the Stroganov Award,[32] Ivanov renounced his own award, which he had won three years earlier, as a gesture of protest. In response, Marat Guelman accused Ivanov of making false statements pointing out that the Museum was not financed from the budget.

Guelman curated the majority of the Museum’s exhibiting projects, including a number of projects that have had a major impact on shaping the Russian art community, such as Dmitry Vrubel’s Gospel Project (2009), A Night at the Museum (2010),[33] Anonymous (2012), The Face of the Bride (2012), and Grand Caucasus (2012), co-curated by Nailya Allakhverdieva, Fatherland (2011), Icons (2012), etc. PERMM projects have been exhibited in other Russian cities as well as abroad. One of the Museum’s exhibitions, Vision, was shown in St. Petersburg in 2010 and in Tver in 2011, Russian Povera traveled to Milan in 2011,[34] Fatherland was displayed in Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk in 2012.

The exhibitions held by PERMM produced an outcry of discontentment from the Russian Orthodox Church. Bishop Cyril of Stavropol confronted Guelman’s exhibitions saying that Guelmans’ work had nothing to do with true culture and that it was aimed at driving inter-religious and interethnic hostility. In 2012 PERMM failed to run an exhibition in Novosibirsk as the Ministry of Culture of the region denied the project exhibition spaces.[35]

The 2009 Living Perm Festival is another important achievement both for PERMM and for Marat Guelman. The Museum was involved in creating and implementing the concept of the festival, supported by Oleg Chirkunov, ex-governor of Perm Krai. Living Perm came to be a key cultural event for the city, and a prototype of a larger festival, Perm White Nights,[36] which has been held annually since. In 2012 it had over 1 million visitors. On 23 March 2009 PERMM became one of the state institutions of Perm Krai.

In June 2013, after a series of scandals Marat Guelman was dismissed from the post of the Director of PERMM.[37] The related legal commentary laid stress on the fact that the employer had no obligation to provide reasons for its decision.[38] Guelman named censorship the main reason for his dismissal.The media believe that the cause leading to Guelman’s dismissal from the post of PERMM’s Director was the personal exhibition of Vasily Slonov, a Krasnoyarsk-based artist, titled Welcome! Sochi 2014, which was opened within the program of Perm White Nights.[9][39] The new governor of Perm Krai Victor Basargin later said that it was the alliance with Guelman that had cost his predecessor Oleg Chirkunov his post.[40]


1. Official (in the passport) Latin-graphics spelling of his last name is Guelman as in French.


1. Guelman, Marat (March 12, 2015). "Впереди – только мрак" (in Russian). Радио Свобода.
2. Jones, Taryn (November 14, 2012). "Marat Guelman: Bio" Art in Russia.
3. Шевелев, Игорь (March 29, 2006). "Галерист на галерах" Деловая газета «Взгляд».
4. Morarjee, Rachel (November 04, 2011). "An artistic perestroika" Financial Times.
5. "Марат Гельман: интервью" (in Russian).
6. Guelman, Marat. "Биография" (in Russian). Дневник Марата Гельмана.
7. "TEDxPerm - Marat Guelman - Trust as a path to success - YouTube". Retrieved 2013-02-22.
8. Guelman, Marat. "Воскресная исповедь" (in Russian). Дневник Марата Гельмана.
9. Muñoz-Alonso, Lorena (January 9, 2015). "Russian Dissident Leaves for Montenegro, Plans a New Space" ArtNetNews.
10. Мартынова, Виктория (October 27, 2015). "Искусство обязано оскорблять" (in Russian). JugoSlovo.
11. "Guelman Gallery" RussianMuseums.Info.
12. "Blue Noses group" Guelman E-gallery.
13. "Культурный Альянс. Проект Марата Гельмана. Художники" (in Russian). Guelman.Ru.
14. "Guelman Gallery - Kiev" The ArtKey.
15. "Культурный Альянс. Проект Марата Гельмана. Выставки" (in Russian). Guelman.Ru.
16. Успенский, Антон (June 17, 2008). "Живопись в контексте постмодернизма. Южнорусская волна из коллекции ГРМ" (in Russian). Доклад для Русского музея
17. "Liste des galeries par pays" (*.pdf). FIAC.
18. "Марат Гельман подтвердил закрытие галереи на «Винзаводе»" (in Russian).
19. "Alexey Kallima Full Biography"
20. Мачулина, Диана (December 8, 2012). "Винзавод. Перезагрузка кластера" (in Russian).
21. Смирнова, Екатерина (October 14, 2011). "Марат Гельман: «Жду от Дмитрия Анатольевича серьезного сигнала региональным властям»" (in Russian).
22. Guelman, Marat. "Аудитория на Эхе вдвое менее лояльна мне и хуже относится к сотрудничеству с властью" (in Russian). Дневник Марата Гельмана.
23. Guelman, Marat. "Может и вам будет интересно" (in Russian). Дневник Марата Гельмана.
24. "WINZAVOD Centre for Contemporary Arts – Art Galleries"
25. "Art Against Geography: Cultural Alliance" 4th Moscow Biennale.
26. Vorhees, Mara. "Contemporary creative Moscow" Lonely Planet.
27. "Russian Povera". The Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art.
28. "About Perm region"
29. Nechepurenko, Ivan (August 24, 2016). "Moscow Crushes an Uprising, This Time an Artistic One" The New York Times.
30. Невзоров, Александр (May 05, 2009). "Марата Гельмана атаковали пермские интеллигенты" (in Russian).
31. "Марат Гельман против Алексея Иванова" (in Russian).
32. "Лауреаты Строгановской премии по итогам 2008 года" (in Russian). Официальный сайт.
33. "Night at the Museum".
34. "MATERIA PRIMA. Russkoe Bednoe – “l’arte povera” in Russia" (in Italiano).
35. Гладилин, Иван (May 12, 2012). "Церковь против «художеств» Гельмана. Единоросс Ткачев — за" (in Russian).
36. "Russian City Moving from Tanks to Culture". Voice of America; December 07, 2011.
37. Семендяева М., Астахов Д. (June 19, 2013). "Марата Гельмана увольняют с должности директора музея PERMM" (in Russian). КоммерсантЪ.
38. "Пермский Минкульт уволил Гельмана" (in Russian).
39. Слонов, Василий (June 24, 2013). "Одобрено Кремлем" (in Russian). Sib.FM.
40. "Виктор Басаргин считает, что союз с Гельманом стал причиной крушения губернатора Чиркунова" (in Russian).

External links

• Official website
• GiF.Ru (in Russian) — «Inform-agency Kultura», Guelman's internet-project
• Marat Gu
Guelman at LiveJournal
• Dukley European Art Community
• Russian Povera
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:03 am

Why Russia produces (and quashes) so much radical art
by Marat Guelman
Updated 27th November 2017



"Seam" (2012) by Pyotr Pavlensky. Credit: Courtesy Pyotr Pavlensky

Editor's Note: Marat Guelman is a Russian art curator living in Montenegro. His most recent exhibition, "Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism," opened at London's Saatchi Gallery on Nov. 16, 2017. The opinions in this article belong to the author.

Artists have always held a special place in Russian society. My father, the playwright Alexander Guelman, was well known in the 1970s and was once lauded by Mikhail Gorbachev as the father of perestroika, the movement for reform within the Communist Party. At that time, theater was changing the perceptions of an entire generation.

During the period of glasnost ("openness") in the mid-1980s, restrictions on forbidden books were relaxed. This newly available literature allowed people to evaluate society in ways that had previously been suppressed by communist propaganda.

The return of the great writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn from exile in 1994 became symbolic of a new era. But by this time, rock music had taken over the roles previously held by theater and literature. The creativity of acts like Mashina Vremeni, Boris Grebenshikov and DDT led the charge for a new, open world. The whole country knew the lyrics by Kino's lead singer Viktor Tsoi: "Our hearts demand change."

Now, social debate in Russia has been catalyzed by contemporary art, and provocative performances have proven the most effective medium for influencing public opinion. Artists have their fingers firmly on the pulse of the rapid changes taking place in Russian society.

A new subversion

Pussy Riot perform "Putin Pissed Himself" in 2012 Credit: Courtesy Pussy Riot

Until 2012, many of us assumed that, after communism, Russia would develop as a democracy. The authorities paid lip service to European values, but after Putin's reelection in 2012, Russia's work-in-progress democracy transformed into a stereotypical autocracy.

The Russian government dropped any pretense of appearing Western; officials stopped trying to hide the wealth they had accumulated through corruption; and the media was increasingly regarded as a tool of state propaganda. Courts became punitive rather than judicial bodies, with political disagreements treated as criminal conduct.

In these circumstances, even the most politically engaged segment of Russian society became despondent and apathetic. After all, as one often hears uttered in Russia, "There's nothing we can do."

Just two weeks before Putin's reelection, Pussy Riot emerged with their raucous prayer "Mother of God, Drive Putin Away!" After the song was performed in Moscow's largest cathedral, the Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior, news of this extraordinary protest spread, and the video was watched by millions online. When the band was subsequently arrested on hooliganism charges, an epic saga with almost daily episodes began: Pussy versus Putin.

Pussy Riot became the anti-Putin on every level. He is a man, they are women; he is old, they are young; he is gray, they are brightly colored; he is rich, they have nothing; he is in the Kremlin, they were in prison.

Pussy Riot's trial, and the imprisonment of two members, drew global attention to Russia's seemingly biased judiciary, and their treatment highlighted the fate that befalls many political prisoners: Amnesty International called the court's decision "a bitter blow to freedom in Russia."

"Carcass" (2013) by Pyotr Pavlensky Credit: Courtesy Pyotr Pavlensky

Then came Pyotr Pavlensky. In contrast to Pussy Riot's outspoken approach, he demonstrated the strength of the weak. There was nothing the government could take away from him, because he didn't have anything to lose.

His politically referential performances are often exercises in self-harm. He sewed his mouth shut ("Seam," 2012) and entangled himself in a barbed wire cocoon ("Carcass," 2013); he cut off his earlobe ("Segregation," 2014) and nailed his scrotum to the Red Square ("Fixation," 2013).

Though he has been arrested on multiple occasions and forced to undergo psychiatric evaluations, the authorities can do little more to him. After all, what threat is prison to a man who commits such violence upon himself?

Through Pavlensky, society saw how a single person could oppose the state's machinery of violence. In turn, hope has arisen that people like him will help the country turn a page in its history and move beyond its present stagnation.

Artistic awakening

Russia's descent into authoritarianism has led to a crackdown on everything from supporting homosexuality and offending Orthodox Christians to criticizing authorities.

In 2013, when I was director of the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art, we hosted Siberian artist Vasily Slonov's "Welcome! Sochi 2014," an exhibition that mocked the 2014 Winter Olympics. The exhibition was shut down the authorities, and I was dismissed from the museum. Two years later, I was evicted from my Moscow gallery space after hosting a fundraising exhibition for political prisoners who had protested Putin's 2012 reelection.

But resisting such restrictions has offered another important artistic strategy. Siberian artist Damir Muratov does so by tackling the centralization of power through the language of art. He has created a separatist Siberian state from his own home (which he calls Bednotown, or "poor city"), which has many of the hallmarks of a real country: a coat of arms, a flag, a postal stamp and a currency. I once saw images of Muratov's works when I was being interrogated at a police station, but he has managed to avoid arrest and imprisonment so far -- likely because his separatist sentiments are confined to art.

"United Kingdom of Siberia" (2017) by Damir Muratov Credit: Courtesy Damir Muratov

Just as the Bolsheviks did 100 years ago, following the October Revolution, today's Russian government is trying to make art serve the state and further the government's ideology. However, only the most incompetent artists willingly serve this cause.

The artistic community at large rarely sees eye to eye with the state. This conflict may not always boil over, but it exists because of a fundamental truth: Artists will always seek to be open to the world, looking to the future and seeing their place in it. By contrast, Putin's rule is characterized by the rhetoric of isolation and Russian nationalism, looking to the past for traces of former glory.

Perhaps because of this, a sense of alienation is growing among the Russian people. In the artistic community, more clearly than anywhere else, one can see the green shoots of a new Russia rising.

"Art Riot: Post-Soviet Actionism" is on at London's Saatchi Gallery until Dec. 31, 2017.
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:26 am

Semibankirschina [The Seven Bankers]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/4/18



Semibankirschina(семибанкирщина), or seven bankers, was a group of seven Russian business oligarchs who played an important role in the political and economical life of Russia between 1996 and 2000. In spite of internal conflicts, the group worked together in order to re-elect President Boris Yeltsin in 1996, and thereafter to successfully manipulate him and his political environment from behind the scenes.

The seven businessmen were identified by oligarch Boris Berezovsky in an October 1996 interview, and the term "semibankirschina" was then coined by a journalist in November 1996 as a takeoff on the Seven Boyars (semiboyarschina), who deposed Tsar Vasily Shuisky in 1610.

The seven bankers

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, in a 29 October 1996 interview in the Financial Times, named seven Russian bankers and businessmen that he claimed controlled most of the economy and media in Russia[1][2][3][4] and had helped bankroll Boris Yeltsin’s re-election campaign in 1996.[5][6][3][4][7]

The word "Semibankirschina" was subsequently coined by the Russian journalist Andrey Fadin of the Obschaya Gazeta newspaper, in a 14 November 1996 article titled "Semibankirschina as a New Russian Variation of Semiboyarschina".[8] He wrote that "they control the access to budget money and basically all investment opportunities inside the country. They own the gigantic information resource of the major TV channels. They form the President's opinion. Those who didn't want to walk along them were either strangled or left the circle." Slightly over a year later, Fadin was killed in a car accident.[9] Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn also used this word in his critical 1998 essay Russia under Avalanche to describe the current political regime and to warn people of what he considered an organized crime syndicate that controlled the President and 70% of all Russian money.[10]

The identities of seven bankers are usually taken from the original Financial Times interview with Boris Berezovsky.[2][11][1] Those include:

1. Boris Berezovsky – United Bank, Sibneft, ORT

2. Mikhail Khodorkovsky – Bank Menatep, Yukos
3. Mikhail Fridman – Alfa Group
4. Petr Aven – Alfa Group
5. Vladimir Gusinsky – Most Group (ru) banking and media group
6. Vladimir Potanin – UNEXIM Bank
7. Alexander Smolensky – Bank Stolichny

Other sources, including collective photo and video materials, suggested that Vladimir Vinogradov (Inkombank) and Vitaly Malkin (Rossiysky Kredit) were part of the closed group.[12][13] From then on, various sources featured different combinations of those nine names to describe the phenomenon of Semibankirschina. Tom Bower also added Vagit Alekperov to the list.[14]

Since most of the seven oligarchs had Jewish roots, it led to a rise of antisemitism in Russia.[15]


It is generally considered that the group was created in March 1996 when a political consultant Sergey Kurginyan invited a group of thirteen Russian oligarchs to sign the so-called Letter of Thirteen (alternatively named Come Out of the Dead End!) in an attempt to cancel the Presidential election of 1996.[16][17] The manifest was published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta and suggested that two major candidates — Boris Yeltsin and the Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov — should strike a "political compromise" in order to prevent "the economical collapse." It contained eight tips that described the position of business elites. The letter was called "a provocation" by the Communists and thus ignored.

After the plan failed, half of those oligarchs formed what became known as Semibankirschina — a group of seven business moguls ironically named after the 17th century seven boyars who owned the majority of Russian media resources and who decided to promote Boris Yeltsin every way possible. Since Yeltsin was highly unpopular by that time, with only 3—8% support, a complex technology of crowd manipulation was developed by the Gleb Pavlovsky's and Marat Gelman's [Guelman] think tank Foundation for Effective Politics,[18] with the involvement of American specialists (the latter fact was used as a basis for the comedy film Spinning Boris released in 2003).

Known as an extremely "dirty" election campaign both inside and outside of Russia,[19] it was discussed in detail in Gleb Pavlovsky's report President in 1996: Scenarios and Technologies of the Victory published shortly after. As Nezavisimaya Gazeta summarized it, "the formula of victory: attracting the expert resources + dominating in the information field + blocking the competitor's moves + dominating in mass media + dominating in elites."[18] The main analyst of the NTV TV channel Vsevolod Vilchek also admitted that they actively applied technologies of mass manipulation.[20] Both Dmitry Medvedev and Mikhail Gorbachev confirmed that Yeltsin's victory was hoaxed.[21][22]

Following the election, the seven bankers became the main power behind Russian politics and economy.[1] Between 1996 and 2000 they gained control over the most valuable state enterprises in the natural resource and metal sectors and unofficially manipulated Yeltsin and his decisions.[23][17] According to Boris Berezovsky, they acted through Anatoly Chubais — an architect of privatization in Russia and Yeltsin's right-hand man who granted access to him at any time.[2]

All this resulted in further impoverishment of the population, criminalization of businesses and the infamous 1998 Russian financial crisis.[13] This was also the time when the word oligarch grew in popularity, substituting the nouveau riche term (both with extremely negative subtext). The 1999 saw the sudden rise to power of the unknown FSB officer Vladimir Putin. Boris Berezovsky and his associates claimed that it was him who single-handedly promoted Putin and insisted on his candidature as a Prime-minister and a President.[24][25]

Yet the following years saw a quick demise of most of the seven bankers and the rise of the new generation of "manageable" Russian oligarchy.
Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky and Gusinsky turned into personae non gratae in Russia. Khodorkovsky lost his business as well as freedom in 2003, while Berezovsky and Gusinsky left Russia in 2000. Smolensky still owns significant companies, but lost his political influence. Vinogradov died in 2008. On 23 March 2013, Berezovsky was found dead at his home, Titness Park, at Sunninghill, near Ascot in Berkshire.[26]

See also

• Boris Yeltsin presidential campaign, 1996


1. Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Vesna (2016). Persistent State Weakness in the Global Age. Routledge. p. 104.
2. "British Paper Names Banking Clique". The Moscow Times. 5 November 1996. Retrieved 29 March 2018.
3. Kotz, David; Weir, Fred (2007). Russia's Path from Gorbachev to Putin: The Demise of the Soviet System and the New Russia. Routledge. p. 218.
4. Goldman, Marshall I. (2003). The Piratization of Russia: Russian Reform Goes Awry. Routledge. p. 132.
5. Chazan, Guy; Thornhill, John (5 March 2015). "Mikhail Fridman: The Alpha oligarch". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
6. Schmouker, Olivier (9 December 2009). "Qui est Mikhail Fridman?". Les Affaires (in French). Retrieved 31 March 2018.
7. Lloyd, John (8 October 2000). "The Autumn Of the Oligarchs". New York Times. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
8. Semibankirschina as a New Russian Variation of Semiboyarschina fragment in the Kommersant newspaper, June 23, 2003 (in Russian)
9. Sergei Mitrofanov. Journalist Andrei Fadin died. Kommersant newspaper, November 22, 1997 (in Russian)
10. Russia under Avalanche, page 57 at the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's official website (in Russian)
11. Daniel Treisman (2012). The Return: Russia's Journey from Gorbachev to Medvedev. New York: Free Press ISBN 978-1-4165-6071-5
12. Dmitry Butrin. The Results of 10 Years of Capitalism. Kommersant newspaper, March 5, 2002 (in Russian)
13. Seven Bankers. Power Punch at the TV Tsentr official YouTube channel, October 6, 2015 (in Russian)
14. Tom Bower (2010). Oil: Money, Politics and Power in the 21st Century. — New York: Grand Central Publishing, p. 94-97 ISBN 978-0-446-56354-3
15. Luke Harding. The richer they come ... at The Guardian, July 2, 2007
16. Vladimir Shlapentokh, Anna Arutunyan (2013). Freedom, Repression, and Private Property in Russia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ISBN 9781107042148
17. Dmitri Butrin. The Undersigned in the Kommersant newspaper, April 24, 2006 (in Russian)
18. Sergei Kartofanov. An Approach to the President's Victory by Nezavisimaya Gazeta № 60, August 29, 1996 at the Foundation for Effective Politics website (in Russian)
19. Dimitri K. Simes. Russia and America: Destined for Conflict? at The National Interest, June 26, 2016
20. Viktor Martynuk. Medvedev Confessed: In 1996 Zyuganov Won the Presidential Election at, February 22, 2012 (in Russian)
21. Simon Shuster. Rewriting Russian History: Did Boris Yeltsin Steal the 1996 Presidential Election? at Time, February 24, 2012
22. Georgi Gotev. Gorbachev: ‘I am ashamed by Putin and Medvedev’ at EurActiv, February 4, 2016
23. Tom Bower (2010). Oil: Money, Politics and Power in the 21st Century. — New York: Grand Central Publishing, p. 94-97 ISBN 978-0-446-56354-3
24. Owen Matthews. How Boris Berezovsky Made Vladimir Putin, and Putin Unmade Berezovsky at The Daily Beast, March 24, 2013
25. Luke Harding. Boris Berezovsky: a tale of revenge, betrayal and feuds with Putin at The Guardian, March 23, 2013
26. Boris Berezovsky found dead at his Berkshire home at The Guardian, March 23, 2013

External links

• Russia bows to the `rule of the seven bankers' at The Irish Times, August 29, 1998
• Thayer Watkins. The Russian Oligarchs of the 1990's at the San Jose State University website
• Of Russian origin: Semibankirschina at Russiapedia
• Seven oligarchs who decided the fate of Russia at the Snob Magazine, January 21, 2011 (in Russian)
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:29 am

Spinning Boris
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/5/18



Spinning Boris
DVD cover
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Produced by Cydney Bernard
Written by
Yuri Zeltser
Grace Cary Bickley
Jeff Goldblum
Anthony LaPaglia
Liev Schreiber
Music by Jeff Danna
Cinematography John S. Bartley
Edited by Michael Pacek
Release date
October 23, 2003
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Spinning Boris is a 2003 American comedy film directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Jeff Goldblum, Anthony LaPaglia and Liev Schreiber. In the film, a Russian political elite hires American consultants to help with Boris Yeltsin's reelection campaign when his approval rating is down to single digits.

The film claimed to be "based on the true story" of three American political consultants who worked for the successful reelection campaign of Boris Yeltsin in 1996, however some disputed the degree of involvement of the Americans in Yeltsin's reelection.[1][2]


• Jeff Goldblum – George Gorton
• Anthony LaPaglia – Dick Dresner
• Liev Schreiber – Joe Shumate
Boris Krutonog – Felix Braynin
• Svetlana Efremova – Tatyana Dyachenko
• Shauna MacDonald – Lisa
• Gregory Hlady – Andrei Lugov
• Vladimir Radian – Vasso
• Ilia Volok – Elvis Impersonator
• Konstantin Kazakov – Oleg Soskovets
• Judah Katz – Michael Kramer

See also

• Boris Yeltsin presidential campaign, 1996


1. ... ilm.russia
2. ... -they.html

External links

• Spinning Boris on IMDb
• Spinning Boris at Rotten Tomatoes
• Article about film (Russian)
• Time Magazine article (July 15, 1996) detailing the events in the movie
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Sun Aug 05, 2018 8:33 am

Part 1 of 2

Boris Yeltsin presidential campaign, 1996
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 8/5/18



Boris Yeltsin presidential campaign, 1996
Candidate Boris Yeltsin
President of Russia
Affiliation Independent
Status Announced:
15 February 1996
3 April 1996
Advanced to runoff:
16 June 1996
Won election:
3 July 1996
Headquarters President-Hotel in Moscow[1][2]
Key people Anatoly Chubais (campaign manager and chairman of campaign council)
Oleg Soskovets (campaign manager)
Tatyana Dyachenko (key advisor and member of campaign council)
Sergei Filatov (campaign organizer, head of campaign headquarters, co-head of ODOP)
Viktor Ilyushin (member of campaign council, co-head of ODOP)
Yury Yarov (executive head, member of campaign council)
Slogan Now we are united!

The Boris Yeltsin presidential campaign, 1996 was the reelection campaign of Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the 1996 election.

Yeltsin was ultimately reelected, despite having originally been greatly expected to lose the election due to an immensely low level of public support prior to the official launch of his campaign.[1][3][4][5][6][7]


Yelstin's approval had tanked after he had introduced significant reforms meant to push Russia towards a market-based economy.[1][8][9] He had eliminated the majority of Soviet-era price controls, privatized a large number of significant state assets, permitted the ownership of private property, welcomed free-market principles, and additionally allowed for a stock exchange to be established and for commodities exchanges and private banks to be created.[9] While some Russians (largely oligarchs) thrived under his reforms, many others faced significant hardships as a result of them.[8][9] A significant portion of the Russian populace had faced increased poverty under his leadership.[9] Additionally, crime rates had significantly increased during his presidency.[4]

Yeltsin had originally risen to power on a populist message of anticorruption and an opponent of Moscow's establishment politics. A political maverick, he was cast-out by the Soviet political establishment.[1] He found a base of support among liberal and pro-western democratic movements. In 1990, those movements united to form the Democratic Russia. This group held a base of power primarily in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and the Urals.[1] This political alliance brought him into power in June 1991, and helped him to resist a coup attempt in August 1991. The alliance formed the base of Russia's first noncommunist government.[1] However, this alliance never merged into a single political organization.[1] Yeltsin never officially joined the front, intending to maintain a level of separation between himself and partisan politics.[1] Thus, it consequentially splintered, leaving him without a unified base of support.[1]

Under Yeltsin's leadership, Russia faced the stigma of being a fallen international superpower.[9] Russia encountered a massive amount of corruption and lawlessness.[9] Russia's economy also faced a decline in industrial production and the Russian populace's qualify of life and life expectancy declined.[9][3]

As president, Yeltsin had allowed for a far more free media to exist than his Soviet predecessors had. In doing so, he not only allowed Russians to enjoy Western pop-culture, but he also permitted open criticism of his own leadership to be published by the press.[9]


Burnt White House following the 1993 constitutional crisis

Following the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis, the Yeltsin government adopted a more nationalist and authoritarian agenda than they had previously championed.[1][9] Yeltsin saw a favorable result in the 1993 constitutional referendum vote.[1]

However, at the same time as the constitutional referendum, the pro-Yeltsin and pro-reform Russia's Choice party fared disastrously in the legislative elections. Russia's Choice might have seen their prospects harmed by Yeltsin's own refusal to officially align himself with or endorse the party.[1] A reason for Yeltsin's refusal to voice his support of the party might have been a desire of Yeltsin's to continue to separate himself from partisan politics,[1][10] while another reason might have been tension between Yeltsin and key members of the Russia's Choice party such as Yegor Gaidar and Boris Fyodorov.[1] Nevertheless, the party had been expected to garner as much as a 40% plurality of the vote. However, the party instead garnered merely 15.5% of the votes, placing behind Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party.[1] Zhirinovsky had successfully appealed to a chunk of the Russian electorate that had grown tired of both the communist leadership of the past and the current "democratic" leadership under Yeltsin.[1][11] Zhirinovsky had espoused a protofascist views and "law-and-order" rhetoric laced with racist undertones.[1] Combined, the core reformist (pro-Yeltsin) parties, including the Russia's Choice and Party of Russian Unity and Accord, received a mere 27.5% of the vote, whilst the core opposition parties received 43.3%.[1] The underperformance of the pro-Yeltsin forces in the 1993 legislative election alarmed some in Yelstin's camp of an urgent need for Yeltsin to revive his faltering public image.[1]


Over the course of 1994, Yeltsin became more and more separated from core reformist politicians and organizations.[1] At the same time, Yeltsin was also becoming more and more separated from the opposition government and its leader, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.[1] Instead, Yeltsin increasingly relied on the advice of First Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Soskovets and his own bodyguard and confidant Alexander Korzhakov.[1] Soskovets had been shaping Yeltsin's campaign strategy.


Our Home Russia fared poorly in the 1995 legislative election

The result 1995 legislative election was not better for Yeltsin. Core reformist (pro-Yeltsin) parties performed marginally worse than 1993, receiving a combined 25.5% of the vote.[1] Core opposition parties garnered 42.5% of the vote.[1]

The opposition Communist Party gained power in the 1995 legislative election. Its leader, Gennady Zyuganov, had a strong grassroots organization, especially in the rural areas and small towns. Zyuganov had appealed effectively to nostalgia for an era of Soviet prestige on the international stage and socialist domestic order. It was already clear at this time that Zyuganov was going to challenge Yeltsin for the presidency the following year.[12]

In the 1995 legislative elections, Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democratic Party placed second with 11.18% of the vote. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's centrist, non-reformist, party Our Home – Russia won 10.13%, placing third.[1]

The result of the 1995 legislative elections seemed to further indicate that support for Yeltsin's reformists was indeed in political decline.[1][13] The largest reformist party at the time, Grigory Yavlinsky's Yabloko won only 6.9% of the vote.[1] The next-largest reformist party, Yegor Gaidar's Democratic Choice of Russia, won a paltry 3.9%.[1] Yeltsin's advisers viewed this as evidence that it would be disastrous for Yeltsin to campaign as a reformist/democrat.[1] Indeed, polling in December placed Yeltsin behind both Zyuganov and Zhirinovsky.[14]

Campaign strategies

Soskovets strategy

Yeltsin's original, abandoned, campaign strategy had been devised by Oleg Soskovets in response to the defeat of pro-Yeltsin parties in the 1993 and 1995 legislative elections. Soskovets decided that for Yeltsin to win in 1996, he would need to adopt some of Zhirinovsky's style of rhetoric.[1] Soskovets worked alongside others, such as Alexander Korzhakov, to devise a strategy.[1] According to their strategy, Yelstin would need to position himself as an intermediate between the reformers and the Zhirinovsky-style protofascists by adopting the platforms of both. Yeltsin initially obliged, and took action to pivot and adjust his image accordingly.[1]

Abandonment of Soskovets strategy

In late-January 1996, members of Yeltsin's inner-circle began to inform him that they were worried that Soskovets' strategy was a losing strategy.[1] Soskovets' standing with Yeltsin was severely harmed after he failed to complete the campaign's signature drive by the deadline Yeltsin had assigned him.[4]

By February, Yeltsin had begun to abandon Soskovets' advice. At this time, several shadow campaigns were hard at work to support Yeltsin's candidacy, and were developing alternative campaign strategies for Yeltsin to adopt.[1] By early February, Sergei Filatov (a former member of Yeltsin's government) had been appointed as the interim head of the campaign headquarters. Filatov was also tasked with laying the groundwork for Yeltsin's official campaign committee. Filatov's appointment consequentially supplanted much of Soskovets' authority within the campaign.[15]

On March 23, in a meeting with Anatoly Chubais and members of Semibankirschina [The Seven Bankers] that polling showed him to be headed towards a defeat.[1][3]

Panic stuck Yeltsin's inner circle after their meeting with the Semisbankirschina made it clear to them that the opinion polls indicated that Yeltsin could not win. Some members of the inner-circle, such as Alexander Korzhakov, urged Yeltsin to cancel or postpone the election in order to prevent a Communist victory.[16][17] Others, such as Yegor Gaidar, urged Yeltsin to forgo seeking a second term, so that they could instead run a reform-minded candidate that would capable of winning the election.[4]

Instead of abandoning his candidacy, Yeltsin reorganized his campaign organization. Yeltsin's own daughter Tatyana Dyachenko was instrumental in convincing him to replace Soskovets as his campaign head.[1] While Yelstin distrusted his campaign advisors, he placed great trust in the advice of his daughter.[18] On March 23, day after the meeting with the Semibankirschina team, Yeltsin fired Soskovets, officially ending the Soskovets campaign.[1][3]

Adoption of a new campaign strategy

The campaign's revised strategy became more clear after liberal figures solidified their control of the campaigns central leadership. They rejected the premise of the earlier Soskovets campaign strategy, believing that trying to appeal towards communists and fascists would be a losing strategy. Instead, they formed an entirely new strategy for his campaign.[1][7]

Russia lacked a strong party system, thus partisan divides were less a factor for campaigns as they were in democracies with more developed party systems, such as France, the United Kingdom and the United States.[1] In both the 1993 and 1995 parliamentary elections, half of Russia's parliamentary seats were decided by voting in single-mandate districts. However, the other half was determined by a national system of proportional representation. Proportional representation encouraged the existence of a plethora of political parties and little incentive for party consolidation. In 1993, thirteen separate parties contested in legislative elections. In 1995, forty-three different parties did.[1] This was seen by the campaign's new leadership as being problematic to Yeltsin's candidacy. They believed that in order to win he would need to convince voters that he was the lesser evil, which he would be unable to effectively do without first convincing voters that they had only two options.[1]

The campaign worked to recast Yeltsin as an individual single-handedly fighting to stave off communist control. The campaign framed a narrative that portrayed Yeltsin as Russia's best hope for stability.[19] The campaign worked to shift the narrative of the election into a referendum on whether voters wanted to return to their communist past (with Zyuganov), or continue with reforms (with Yeltsin).[5][4]

Also important to Yeltsin's new stagey was to highlight the divide between the moderate and radical sides of the left-wing, highlight the left's radical views, and portray Zyuganov as a government bureaucrat with no practical government experience.[20]

Yeltsin's campaign also sought to replicate factors that had previously contributed to his victories in the 1991 presidential election and the 1994 constitutional referendum.[4] One such factor he sought to replicate was the public's perception of his leadership. In 1991, Yeltsin had been widely seen as a vigorous leader. This was no longer the case. Thus, Yeltsin took an active approach to campaigning in order to project an revive of vigor.[21] Another factor he replicated was the allocation of funds to popular causes, something he had also done in advance of the 1991 election and 1994 referendum.[21] He also repeated tactics used in 1991 and 1994 by firing unpopular officials, slowing down the pace of economic reforms (a plurality of Russians felt that the reforms needed to be more gradual), and promising to pivot a number policies in the direction favored by the public.[21]

Campaigning in first round

Early developments

Many predicted that Russia would succumb to the same trend that many other post-Soviet transition democracies, where nationalist politicians unseated incumbent leaders.[22]

Before Yelstin announced his intention to seek a second term, there was speculation that he would retire from politics due to his ailing health and the growing disapproval of his performance.[8] At the time Yeltsin was recuperating from a series of heart attacks.[8][9] Despite some efforts to revive the public's perception, Yeltsin still possessed a strongly negative image, with both domestic and international observers taking note his occasionally erratic behavior.[1][8] Additionally, amongst the aforementioned economic decline, Yeltsin encountered poor optics by enjoying the benefits of power, enjoying luxuries he himself had once criticized Soviet leaders for, such as chauffeured limos.[9] Yeltsin's popularity came close to zero.[8]

According to the former Kremlin Chief of Staff Sergey Filatov, Yeltsin initially did not plan to participate in the elections, but with the success of the Communist party in the legislative elections, he changed his decision.[23][24] Former Yeltsin's adviser Sergey Stankevich claimed that the Mayor of St. Petersburg Anatoly Sobchak was considered as a candidate for the presidency instead of Yeltsin, as Sobchak had all the necessary resources and had all the chances to win. However, at the end of 1995 Sobchak finally abandoned this idea, and Yeltsin still decided to be re-elected.[25][26]

In January, Yeltsin distributed an internal memo, which was soon leaked in the press. The memo urged his government to undertake radical measures to insure he would retain power. One of the suggested actions was to dismiss regional governors that did not provide a sufficient level of support to Our Home – Russia during the 1995 legislative elections. Other actions suggested in the memo were to channel government money into his election campaign, use state-run media to bolster his candidacy, cut funding to state-owned regional newspapers that supported opposition candidates, and to insure that positions in the Central Election Commission were occupied by individuals favoring Yeltsin.[15]

On January 22, Yeltsin stated that he would announce the final decision on whether he was going to run sometime between February 13 and 15. Yeltsin commented,

I realize that if I agree [to run], the struggle will be tough...Those who [I would] be running against are not exactly ordinary people, but we'll organize the campaign taking account of the experience in other countries.[15]

By this time, it was widely anticipated that, despite his unpopularity, Yeltsin was going to seek reelection.[15]

The days leading up to the announcement were characterized by a number of figures with connections to Yeltsin signaling whether or not they would support his reelection campaign. For instance, on February 5, Vyacheslav Kostikov, Yeltsin's former spokesman, indicated his opposition to Yeltsin's candidacy by delivering a crass and harshly-worded rebuke of the President. On February 8, Prime Minister Chernomyrdin denied long-standing rumors that he would seek presidency himself, declaring that Yeltsin had his, "complete and unconditional support."[13]

Announcement of candidacy

Yeltsin's campaign announcement was held in the Youth Palace

Yeltsin declared his candidacy in his native Yekaterinburg

On February 15, 1996, Yeltsin officially declared his intentions to seek a second term in a speech delivered at the Youth Palace in his native Yekaterinburg.[3][27][13] While delivering his announcement, Yeltsin's voice was uncharacteristically hoarse.[3] Yeltsin proclaimed, "the people want me to run a second time."[13]

Despite Yeltsin's insistence that the Russian public desired to see him run for reelection, polling indicated immense disinterest in his candidacy. On the day that he announced his candidacy, the majority of major polls showed him to be either in fourth or fifth place. Most political observers had already disregarded his prospects.[3] Polling showed him to possess an approval rating of 6%.[18][28][29] Joseph Stalin was found to be polling more favorably, scoring both lower negatives and higher positives than Yeltsin.[18][28] Polling also found that the majority of Russians believed that Yeltsin was to blame for wrecking the country's economy.[28]

The campaign faced the challenge of convincing voters that despite bleak circumstances under his incumbency, Russia would fare better under Yeltsin's continued leadership.[8]

Winter 1996

By the virtue of Yeltsin's incumbency, his campaign effort was given access to a plethora of resources that no other campaign had, making the advantage of his incumbency immense. While he was, on one hand, burdened by the failures of his incumbency, he was also provided substantial utilities by virtue his position as the head of the Russian government.[1][30] Yeltsin's campaign had access to the resources of agencies such as the FSB the FAPSI.[1] Korzhakov's own analytic center and regional heads of administration who Korzhakov helped to appoint were willing to assist the campaign.[1] The campaign used these resources for intelligence gathering and monitoring campaign spending, however they otherwise benefited only marginally from them.[1] However, Yeltsin found other means of using his incumbency as a tool for his campaign. Being an incumbent, he could demonstrate his willingness to fulfill promises he was making on the campaign trail.[31] In March he doubled a large number of pensions.[31] This received flak from his opponents, who accused him of essentially buying votes, however, Yeltsin's team argued that he was simply doing his job as President.[31] In early March, Yeltsin decreed that 40 million landowners in Russia would have the right to buy and sell property. This move made land a tradable commodity in Russia for the first time since 1917. Yeltsin hoped that this would benefit peasants and provide them a reason to embrace reforms, thus undermining their support for the communists.[32]

On March 15, the Communist Party, which constituted the largest faction in the State Duma, moved to pass a (largely symbolic) non-binding resolution denouncing the Dissolution of the Soviet Union.[3] This played right into Yeltsin's hands. Allegedly, Yeltsin's aides had they laid the groundwork for the vote by giving nationalists in the Duma the go-ahead to vote with the Communists and by coordinating the proceedings so that only Yeltsin's least popular allies in parliament speak out against the resolution.[3] When it passed, Yeltsin attacked the Communists by alleging that if one is to claim that the Soviet breakup was illegal, then Russia itself was an illegitimate state. This, seemingly inconsequential, vote now positioned Zyuganov as an apparent extremist.[3] Polling ultimately showed that less than a third of Russian's approved of the resolution.[32] The Communists proved unable to effectively respond to this development.[3] Soon after this, Yeltsin's own poll numbers began to improve.[3]

On March 24, Chernomydrin announced that Our Home is Russia would back Yeltsin's candidacy. He also announced his intention to form a broad coalition of parties to back Yeltsin's campaign.[33]

On March 27, 1996, Yeltsin benefited from International Monetary Fund director Michel Camdessus' approval of a $10.2 billion loan for Russia.[34][35][36]

Spring 1996

Throughout the Winter of 1996, Soskovets' strategy was losing traction. At the start of Spring, however, the strategy was entirely abandoned when Yeltsin fired Soskovets as his campaign manager.[1] As was detailed previously, new campaign leadership was added to the campaign, and a new strategy was being adopted.[1]

Yeltsin's candidacy was officially filed on April 3.[37] That same day, Democratic Russia leaders Lev Ponomaryov and Gleb Yakunin gave Yeltsin their personal endorsements, and encouraged members of their party to follow their lead.[37]

Boris Yeltsin at his campaign's first official rally on April 4 in Belgorod. Belgorod was seen as a communist stronghold. In the 1995 legislative election, 35% of its electorate had voted for the Communist Party in its party list vote, and they had elected in their single-district vote Nikolai Ryzhkov[37] (Yeltsin's closest opponent in the 1991 presidential election).

Immediately after officially filing his candidacy, Yeltsin launched his first campaign tour.[6] He decided to travel to southern Russia's agricultural region, home to the Red Belt (where the Communists were particularly strong).[38][6] He began his travels with a trip to the city of Belgorod.[37] On his visit, Yeltsin was greeted with unexpectedly warm reception. Thereafter, the Yeltsin campaign staff arranged an exhaustive travel schedule for the president and Yelstin campaigned vigorously, maintaining a high media profile.[3][8][6][39]

Yeltsin traveled around the country and visited factories, met with voters.[40][41] As an advantage of his incumbency, Yeltsin had the liberty of traveling on the presidential jet. In contrast, Zyuganov had to travel by commercial flights.[30]

Many of Yeltsin's early stump speeches had a forward-looking tone, promising a better future for all Russians, and seeking to reposition him as a unifying force in Russian politics.[6] In an April speech Yeltsin said,

"We have ceased to see the world in terms of red and white. Before our eyes, it has become multicolored, vivid, and bright."[6]

Yeltsin worked diligently to convince Russian voters that he would be able to make it to the second round of the election and defeat Zyuganov. He was publicly dismissive of suggestions that a third force might coalesce.[21]

In April, for the first time a number of polls were showing Yeltsin leading Zyuganov. Polls also showed that Yeltsin's support was higher amongst younger, urban, and higher-income Russians, while Zyuganov's support was higher amongst older, poorer, and rural voters.[31] Polling showed signs that Yeltsin had likely benefited some from his recent announcement of plans to peacefully end the conflict in Chechnya.[31] Yeltsin also was benefiting from the Communist Party running a relatively poor campaign. The Communists had been rather unsuccessful in their marketing of Zyuganov's candidacy, failing to create appealing messaging.[31]

During the nation's Victory Day Celebration, Yeltsin gave an address to crowds in Red Square from atop Lenin's Tomb. He praised the Russian people, Russian soldiers, and the Allies (unlike Zyuganov, who failed to acknowledge the allied forces in the speech he delivered across town). After delivering his speech, Yeltsin broke with tradition and became the first Russian leader in 51 years to leave Moscow during the Victory Day celebration. Following a brief meeting with veterans in Gorky Park, he flew to Volgograd (Stalingrad), the site of some of the fiercest fighting during the war. Yeltsin said that, although the Volgograd region had consistently voted Communist in past elections, he felt morally obligated to visit the site due to its importance. Upon arriving in Volgograd, Yeltsin was reportedly greeted by crowds carrying signs saying "We love you" and "Yeltsin is a democrat."Victory Day Celebration: From atop Lenin's tomb, President Yeltsin addressed the crowds in Red Square celebrating the 51st anniversary of the end of World War II. Yeltsin praised the Russian people, Russian soldiers, and unlike his Communist rival speaking across town, the Allies. Yeltsin also called attention the recently reinstated red flag labeling it "a living link between the generations." He then became the first Russian leader in 51 years to leave Moscow during the Victory Day celebration. After meeting briefly with veterans in Gorky Park, Yeltsin flew to Volgograd (Stalingrad), site of some of the fiercest fighting during the war. Yeltsin explained, although the region has consistently voted Communist in recent elections, he felt morally obligated to visit a site of such importance. According to the government's ITAR-TASS press agency, crowds greeted Yeltsin carrying signs saying "We love you" and "Yeltsin is a democrat."[42]

Yelstin campaigning on May 7

In early May, Yeltsin refused Zyuganov's challenge to hold a debate, saying,

I was a Communist for 30 years and had so much of that demagoguery that today, with my democratic views, I cannot bear this demagoguery any more...For this reason, I don't need the debate with Zyuganov. I stick to my beliefs, while he wants to drag the country backward.[42]

He went on to say, he did not have time to debate all of the ten candidates, and it would not be fair to debate just one.[42]

Over the Victory Day (May 9th) weekend, Yeltsin's campaign began a heavy advertising campaign. This was in violation of election laws, which mandated that candidates could not run television, billboard, or radio advertisements earlier than March 15.[16] The advertisements were created for the campaign by the Russian advertising firm Video International.[16] The advertisements starred veterans, and were commissioned by the Igor Malashenko (who was in charge of the campaign's image management and television advertising) to serve as the first step of an effort to Yeltsin's image among older voters.[1][16]

In May, Yeltsin's campaign saw a boost when The World Bank provided Russia a loan.[43] Yeltsin's campaign got a boost from the announcement of a $10 billion loan to the Russian government from the International Monetary Fund.[8] Yeltsin used trillions of rubles from the IMF loans to begin repaying government debt to state employees.[44]

At the May 17 CIS Summit in Moscow, leaders of the other nations that formerly composed the Soviet Union offered their collective endorsement of Yeltsin's candidacy.[44]

Yeltsin's campaign received a boost when on May 27, he and acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev signed a cease-fire. Following the signing ceremony, Yeltsin boarded a plane and immediately embarked on a surprise six-hour trip to Chechnya, where he visited soldiers and declared victory. This fulfilled a promise that Yeltsin had made that he would personally visit war-torn Chechnya before the day of the election.[44]

On May 31, Yeltsin unveiled his official campaign platform in the city of Perm. The choice of location made headlines, as Perm was widely seen to favor the Communist Party.[19] Perm was also thought to be especially unlikely to support Yeltsin because both the Liberal Democratic Party and the Communist Party had beaten pro-Yeltsin parties there months earlier in the 1995 legislative election.[19] Yeltsin's campaign took a gamble by choosing to actively campaign in Perm, which ultimately paid-off when Yeltsin won the majority of its vote in the first round of the election, defeating Zyuganov by a wide-margin.[19]

Summer 1996

Campaign advertisements grace the Moscow Metro ahead of the June election

By the summer of 1996, all major polls showed Yeltsin making notable gains.[44]

Back in April, Filatov sought for the campaign to avoid anti-communist campaigning (as this risked providing Zyuganov free publicity). However, by June, he had revised his approach, and the campaign issued direct criticism of the Communist platform.[6]

Near the end of the campaign, Dzhokhar Dudayev's widow endorsed Yeltsin for President of Russia. This further neutralized criticisms of his handling of the Chechen War.[5]

The campaign held GOTV in the run up to the day of the election. This included organizing rock concerts aimed at increasing youth turnout.[19][30] A June concert at Red Square drew 100,000 attendees.[30] In cities such as Perm, concerts were held the weekend prior to the election.[19]

Result of the first round

The government's decision to allow a wide election-day voting window (with polls open from 8 AM to 10 PM) was believed to allow for a greater voter turnout. Experts speculated that a stronger turnout would benefit Yeltsin's campaign.[19]

Yeltsin confidently issued predictions that he would place first in the first-round. However, his campaign's leaders kept their cards fair closer to their chest. Ultimately, Yeltsin did win the first round, albeit by only 3 percentage points. In carrying 35% Yeltsin placed between five and ten points lower than public polling had predicted he would. However, he had placed relatively near the projections of the campaign's internal polling.[1]

Many in Yeltsin's camp were actually happy that the result was close. They believed that a close margin would help motivate pro-reformist voters to participate in the second round of voting. They had feared a landslide first-round result in his favor would lead Yeltsin's supporters to be less motivated to vote in the second round.[1]

Some viewed Yeltsin as benefiting from Russian voters in the 1996 election possessing a greater concern with choosing the candidate that championed the political and economic future that they preferred with Russia, rather than evaluating the incumbent's performance.[1]

Yeltsin had also benefited from the inadequacy of his opponents' campaign efforts. Much of the opposition were mired with technical ineptness, ideological confusion, and political baggage. Many of his opponents became their own enemies, making it completely unnecessary for Yeltsin to concentrate any efforts on combatting their candidacies.[3]

Campaigning in the second round

After the results of the first round were announced, Yeltsin's campaign publicly expressed confidence that was that Yeltsin was going to win the next round, declaring their belief that most of Yavlinski, Zhirinovski, Lebed and Fyodorov's supporters were going to vote for Yeltsin in the second round.[43] To emphasize this anticipated coalition of support, Yeltsin's campaign adopted the slogan "Now we are united!"[43]

Two days after the first round of voting, Yeltsin hired Alexander Lebed as his national security advisor and, in return, received Lebed's endorsement.[1][3][45][5][46][47][48] During the first round, Yeltsin had brokered a secretive arrangement in which Lebed had agreed to support him in the second round.[3]

Entering the second round, the predominate concerns of voters were the war in Chechnya, skyrocketing prices, unemployment, and economic decline. Voters also desired for whoever won the presidency to oversee timely control over the payment of pensions and salaries and achieve peace in Chechnya.[43] Yeltsin's campaign aimed to convince voters that Yeltsin was successfully implementing measures to address all of these concerns. They also sought to convince the voters that Russia would not suffer a second Perestroika.[43]

Early in the runoff, the campaign encountered major road bumps. Days after the first round the campaign had to handle controversy in the fallout of the Xerox Affair.[47] Additionally, Yeltsin's health presented significant obstacle to the campaign.[1]

In addition to firings related to the aforementioned Xerox Affair, there were a number of other shakeups in Yeltsin's presidential administration. Yeltsin fired Pavel Grachev, at the request of Lebed.[49]

A week into the runoff campaign, Yeltsin fell ill upon returning from a campaign visit to Kaliningrad.[3] Yeltsin himself publicly insisted it was merely a cold or sore throat.[38] Despite their heavy efforts to cover-up Yeltsin's health problems, the campaign failed to entirely conceal from the public that the president's health had deteriorated significantly over the course of the campaign.[45] Rumors variably alleged that Yeltsin was, in fact, suffering from exhaustion, a breakdown, or depression.[3] Months after the election, it would be disclosed that he had, in fact, suffered a heart attack.[1][50]

For a period of time after the heart attack, Yeltsin ceased making campaign appearance and disappeared from public view. To cover up Yeltsin's absence, Yeltsin's campaign team created a "virtual Yeltsin" shown in the media through staged interviews that never happened and pre-recorded radio addresses.[51] He later returned to the campaign trail, however, with a drastically lighter travel itinerary than he had in the first round.[1][48]

During the runoff campaign, one of the advertising agencies working for Yeltsin's campaign printed over a million adhesive-backed posters with Zyuganov's image on them and the warning, "This could be your last chance to buy food!" These posters appealed to a genuine fear of hunger amongst the Russian populace, and were plastered on the windows of food markets all across the country. This proved to be an effective scare tactic.[3] Posters were printed by the campaign in the closing weeks which warned "The Communist Party hasn't changed its name and it won't change its methods".[6] By evoking unpleasant memories of communist rule, the campaign hoped to spur turnout amongst anticommunist voters and weaken the coalition between nationalists and Communists.[6]

Despite the tone of his campaign material, a little more than a week before Election Day, Yeltsin indicated a willingness to work with the Communists declaring that he was, "ready for dialogue and co-operation with all those for whom the fate of Russia is a top priority", including "honest Communists".

Near the close of the runoff campaign, Lebed became a burden to the campaign. Lebed made several incendiary remarks, which attracted controversey. On June 26, just a week before the election. While addressing an assembly of Cossacks on behalf of the campaign, Lebed said particular Russian religious sects, including Mormons, were "mold and scum" which had been "artificially brought into our country with the purpose of perverting, corrupting, and ultimately breaking up our state". In these remarks Lebed said that such "foul sects", needed to be outlawed be outlawed because they posed "a direct threat to Russia's security". He argued that Russia needed "established, traditional religions", which he named as being Russian Orthodoxy, Islam and Buddhism (noticeably omitting Judaism from this list of acceptable religions).[48]

On the day of the election, when Yeltsin made an appearance at a polling station in order to cast his own vote, he was described as appearing "shaky", drawing further concerns about his health.[45]

Result of the second round

Yeltsin won the final round of the election by a decisive margin, managing to defeat Zyuganov by nearly ten million votes.[45] On the night of the election, Zyuganov publicly conceded the race to Yeltsin, and congratulated him on his victory.[45]

Yelstin was re-inaugurated as President the following month.

Yeltsin's reelection defied a pattern amongst post-Soviet transition democracies of nationalists unseating incumbent leaders during their immediate bids for reelection.[22]

Platform and positions

Yeltsin was generally seen as representing the status quo, whereas Zyuganov was seen as opposing it.[1] On some issues Yeltsin was seen as being to the right of Zyuganov, whilst on other issues he was perceived as being to the left of Zyuganov.[1] Overall, however, Yeltsin was seen as a progressive or a liberal, while Zyuganov was seen as conservative.[1] Yeltsin was pro-reform, whilst Zyuganov was anti-reform.[1] Yeltsin was anticommunist, while Zyuganov was procommunist.[1] Yeltsin was a democrat, while Zyuganov was a nationalist.[1]

Yelstin was viewed as bolstering the causes of centrists, whilst Zyuganov was viewed as representing the nationalists.[1]

In early March, Soskovets, still the de-juror chairman of the campaign, publicly outlined the themes of Yeltsin's campaign as being, social support, strengthening Russian statehood, fighting crime, and emphasizing how government activities were promoting stability.[32]

On April 6 Yeltsin addressed a congress of his supporters. He announced that he would delay unveiling his campaign platform, until following month, claiming this was to prevent his opponents from "distorting or using" his program. However, Yeltsin did provide a very general overview of what his program might entail. He spoke on the themes of the family, fighting crime, ending the war in Chechnya, and strengthening CIS integration. Yeltsin promised that he would win so that "these elections will not be the last."[52]

On May 31, Yeltsin announced his official campaign program at an event in the city of Perm.[19] The platform was detailed in a 127-page document entitled Russia: Individual, Family, Society, State.[44]

His platform echoed much of his 1991 platform's rhetoric. It made promises to complete economic reform, to rewrite the tax code, compensate swindled investors, strengthen Russia's social welfare system and turn the nation's army into a modern professional fighting-force.[44]

In his platform, Yeltsin claimed to have pulled Russia back from the brink of catastrophe, bringing it toward a more definitive future. He took credit himself for overseeing the development of a multi-party democracy and the foundations of a liberal-market economy. He also credited himself for keeping Russia's territorial integrity intact, and reintegrating Russia with the world.[44]

In his platform, Yeltsin wrote,

As president I know better than most how difficult life is for you at the moment. I feel all your pain, all the country's pain. However, I am sure that this is the pain of a recovering organism.
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Re: Boris Berezovsky (businessman), by Wikipedia

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Part 2 of 2

Economic policy

Yeltsin promised to complete his economic reform, insisting that the reforms that had already been initiated should be carried-through.[44][10] However, in an effort to boost his popularity, Yelstin promised to abandon some of his more unpopular economic reform measures.[8] Yeltsin's enthusiasm for reform was markedly different than it had been in the early years of his presidency. Yeltsin now championed a more cautious and gradual approach to reform.[10]

Yeltsin also promised to rewrite the tax code and to compensate swindled investors.[44]

In late January and early February Yeltsin made promises to spend billions of dollars in support of coal miners in order to end workers strikes.[44][13] This was the first of many populist spending promises Yeltsin would make during his campaign.[13]

Yelstin promised to pay wages and pension arrears[8] and to raise pensions.[19] In March, to demonstrate a willingness to deliver on his promises, Yeltsin doubled many pensions.[31]

Yeltsin promised easier loans to buy homes.[44]

Yeltsin promised to provide compensation to those that had lost their savings through the hyper-inflation of 1991-92. Such payments would be distributed in a manner prioritizing war veterans, the disabled, and elderly.[44]

Yeltsin promised farmers that he would cut their electricity expenses in half and would forgive nearly 23 trillion rubles in farm debt.[44]


Yeltsin promised to turn the nation's army into a modern professional fighting force. Yeltsin adopted a position favoring the abolition of conscription, proposing a gradual end to the policy to be completed by the year 2000.[44]

Yeltsin believed that Russia needed to ensure its military security, spite a decrease in world tensions. He condemned NATO expansion saying that the West was trying to '"reinforce its world leadership." Yeltsin also called for military reform to adjust to the new strategic situation, arguing that instead of hundreds of divisions that exist only on paper, Russia's military needed, "a few dozen divisions made up of entirely professionals."[44]

Yeltsin pledged to spend 2.8 trillion rubles on for research and development for defense sector.

Yeltsin called for adopting a strong nuclear deterrent policy.[44]

Ending the Chechen War

Yeltsin attempted to separate himself from taking responsibility for the unpopular military action in Chechnya, instead contending that his ministers should be the ones blamed.[10]

Yeltsin pledged to end the war in Chechnya.[8][53] He also promised to spend trillions of rubles rebuilding the war-torn region.[44] During his campaign, Yeltsin falsely claimed that he was already achieving a peaceful end to the conflict. He even went as far as erroneously denying reports that armed conflict was actively ongoing.[31] Yeltsin saw his candidacy as tilting upon the public's perception of his ability to deliver a peaceful to the conflict.[32]

On March 31, in a televised speech to the nation, Yeltsin announced his long-awaited peace initiative for Chechnya. He conceded that his administration would be willing to hold discussions with Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev, and would be willing to discuss some form of autonomy for Chechnya within the Russian Federation short of outright independence, perhaps modeled upon Tatarstan. He named Prime Minister Chernomyrdin, who was more favorably viewed by Chechens, as heading these efforts. He announced that troops would be withdrawn from areas already secured. He also announced amnesty would be granted to most Chechen fighters. However, in a deft political move, Yeltsin declared that the decisions as to which Chechens would be granted amnesty would be decided by the State Duma, which was controlled by the Communist Party.[32]

On May 27, Yeltsin's efforts received a boost when he and acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev signed a cease-fire agreement.[44] This temporarily suspended military operations in the Chechen Republic.

Social policy


Yeltsin promised to increase welfare spending and strengthen the nation's social welfare system.[8][44]

Yeltsin promised to provide free transportation to the elderly.[19] He also promised a significant increase in the amount of money given in monthly pensions.[44]

Yelstin promised that, for frozen regions of Northern Russia, he would subsidize children's holidays and build retirement homes in the south for their miners.[44]

Yeltsin promised to provide students with scholarships for science students, and better pension plans for teachers.[44]

Soviet reunification

Yeltsin made efforts to one-up the nationalists and communists on the issue of Soviet reunification by taking concrete actions. Yeltsin announced a series of agreements with states of the former Soviet Union pertaining to voluntary reunification.[32]

On April 2, Yeltsin and president Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus signed a treaty calling for further cooperation between the two nations.[32][54] The treaty would establish a Union State. It would also establish a "Community of Sovereign Republics" that would include supranational bodies for the military, environmental, and technical fields. A common currency was envisioned by 1997, to be followed by a joint budget and constitution afterwards. However, the nations would keep their own flags and continue to be sovereign states.[32]

Image management

Within the campaign council, Malashenko was tasked with managing television advertising and enhancing the president's image.[1] Additionally involved in shaping Yeltsin's image was Georgy Rogozin, who was given offices on the eighth floor of of the President-Hotel.[20]

The campaign council hired the country's leading campaign advisers, image consultants and advertising agencies.[1] Igor Mintusev and Yekaterina Yegerova of the campaign consulting firm Nikola M were both hired to work on Yeltsin's image.[1] The campaign also employed a number of media consultants, who were tasked with placing favorable articles in national and regional publications.[1]

Normally a private individual, Naina Yeltsina (left) made herself more available to the public

During the campaign, Yeltsin's wife, Naina Yeltsina, normally a private individual, took a more public role, and met with the voters.[55]

The campaign made use of a number of catch-phrases, including "chose or lose" and "vote with your heart".[56]

Personal health of Yeltsin

At 65 years old,[45] Yeltsin's health had been in grave decline, with his heavy consumption of alcohol being a contributing factor.[9] By the time he had announced his reelection effort, Yeltsin was facing significant health problems. He was recovering from a series of heart attacks.[8][9] In 1995 alone, Yeltsin had suffered three heart attacks.[9]

Yeltsin campaigned energetically during the first round of the election in an effort to dispel concerns about his health.[8] Nonetheless, it was visible that his health was indeed declining while he was on the campaign trail.[45] For the benefit of his health while campaigning, Yeltsin temporarily gave up his heavy drinking.[30]

Yeltsin's campaign worked to conceal his ailing health from the public.[1][51]

Scandals during campaign

Xerox Affair

Staffers were detained while leaving the Russian White House

On June 20, only three days after the first-round of voting, Yeltsin fired Soskovets, Korzhakovand and Barsukov from their roles in his presidential administration. Yeltsin alleged that the three had been interfering in his reelection campaign.[47] As noted earlier, Soskovets had drafted Yeltsin's original, abandoned, campaign strategy, and originally oversaw the campaign alongside Korzhakov and Barsukov.[1] All three had subsequently come into conflict with the new leaders of the campaign.[47]

The controversy stemmed from the June 19 arrest of two campaign staffers, Sergey Lisovsky (the general director of the company ORT-advertising) and Arkady Evstafiev (an assistant to Cubais). The two had been detained by security agents while leaving the Russian White House.[47][57] The security agents discovered $500,000 in a Xerox copy-paper box that was being carried by one of the men.[57] The men were arrested and interrogated at the behest of Barsukov and Korzhakov.[47][57]

The motivation of Barsukov and Korzhakov for arresting the men had likely been Korzhakov's resentment towards campaign manager Antoly Chubais. Korzhakov had been a key individual urging Yeltsin to postpone the election.[16][47] He had earlier caused a media frenzy in early May by publicly asserting the opinion that Yeltsin should postpone the election.[16] Distrusting and disagreeing with Chubais, Korzhakov and the others were likely attempting to filthy Cubais in Yeltsin's eyes.[47]

The arrests had been reported within hours by television networks, which led to the firing of Barsukov and Korzhakov, along with their political ally Soskovets. Both Chubais and Lebed quickly convinced Yeltsin that he would lose the election if he kept the three in his administration. Yeltsin desired to distance himself from any corruption investigation that might result from the event, and therefore obliged to the firings.[47]

The discovery of the $500,000 raised the public's suspicions of chicanery being conducted by Yeltsin's campaign. Chubais publicly proclaimed that such allegations were merely the work of political adversaries. However, he privately conspired to cover-up any evidence of illegal transactions.[58]


A television tower in Moscow

Yeltsin's campaign organized the most sophisticated media effort that Russia had ever seen.[3] While the Communist campaign relied on old-school techniques, such as campaign rallies and leafletting, Yeltsin's team commissioned firms to conduct focus-group research, polling, consulting, and direct mail advertising on behalf of campaign.[16]

Throughout the first round of the election, Yeltsin maintained a high level of media presence.[8][6] His approval benefited from this.[6] Additionally, his wife, normally a private individual, made herself available for interviews with the media.[55]

In March 1996, NTV general director Igor Malashenko was made a member of Yeltsin's newly-established campaign council.[1] Within the campaign council, Malashenko was tasked with managing television advertising and enhancing the president's image.[1][59] Malashenko commissioned Video International, the same firm that supplied NTV with most of its advertising and television programming, to produce television sports, posters and leaflets for the campaign.[1][16] He awarded additional contracts for direct mail and posters to Mikhail Semenov, who owned Russia's largest direct mail firm.[1]

Rather than asking voters whether they were better off under his leadership, Yeltsin's campaign sought to ask voters whether they believed they would be better or worse off under Zyuganov's leadership.[29]

Favorable media bias

Ostankino Technical Center

The Yeltsin campaign successfully enlisted the national television channels (ORT, RTR, NTV) and most of the written press as agents in his campaign against Zyuganov.[1][29]

Supplementing the work of the numerous public relations and media firms that were hired by the campaign, a number of media outlets "volunteered" their services to Yeltsin's reelection effort. For instance, Kommersant (one of the most prominent business newspapers in the country) published an anti-communist paper called Ne Dai Bog (meaning, "God forbid").[1] At ORT, a special committee was placed in charge of planning a marathon of anticommunist films and documentaries to be broadcast on the chanel ahead of the election.[1]

In the 1991 election, there were two major television channels. RTR had supported Yeltsin, while Public Television of Russia had criticized him and covered the views of a large number of his opponents. In the 1996 election, however, no major television network was critical of Yeltsin.[29][60] The networks marginalized all of Yeltsin's opponents aside from Zyuganov, helping to create the perception that there were only two viable candidates. This allowed Yeltsin to pose as the lesser-evil. Near the end of the election, however, the networks began also providing coverage to the candidacy of Lebed,[60] who had already agreed to support Yeltsin in the second round.[1]

The European Institute for Media found that Yeltsin received 53% of all media coverage of the campaign, while Zyuganov received only 18%. In their evaluation of the biases of news stories, EIM awarded each candidate 1 point for every positive story they received and subtracted a point for every negative story they received. In the first round of the election, Yeltsin scored +492 and Zyuganov scored -313. In the second round of the election, Yeltsin scored +247 and Zyuganov scored -240.[29]

One of the reasons for the media's overwhelming favoritism of Yeltsin was their fear that a Communist government would dismantle Russia's right to a free press.[29][5]

There were instances of direct payments made for positive coverage (so-called "dollar journalism").[29]

Another factor contributing to the media's support of Yeltsin was that his government still owned two of the national television channels, and still provided the majority of funding to the majority of independent newspapers.[29] In addition, Yeltsin's government also was in charge of supplying licenses to media outlets. Yeltsin's government and Luzhkov, mayor of Moscow, flexed their power and reminded the owners, publishers, and editors that newspaper licenses and Moscow leases for facilities were "under review".[29]

Additionally, Yeltsin managed to enlist Russia's emerging business elite in his campaign, including those who ran media corporations. This included Vladimir Gusinsky, owner of Most Bank, Independent Television and NTV. NTV which had, prior to the campaign, been critical towards Yeltsin's actions in Chechnya, changed the tone of their coverage. Igor Malashenko, Gusinsky's appointed head of NTV, even joined the Yeltsin campaign and led the its media relations in a rather visible conflict-of-interest.[29] In early 1996, Gusinsky and his political rival Boris Berezovskii (chairman of the Board of ORT) decided that they would put aside their differences in order to work together to support the reelection Boris Yeltsin.[1]

In mid-1996, Chubais and Yeltsin recruited a team of a handful of financial and media oligarchs to bankroll the Yeltsin campaign and guaranteed favorable media coverage the president on national television and in leading newspapers.[61] In return, Chubais allowed well-connected Russian business leaders to acquire majority stakes in some of Russia's most valuable state-owned assets.[62] Led by the efforts of Mikhail Lesin, the media painted a picture of a fateful choice for Russia, between Yeltsin and a "return to totalitarianism." The oligarchs even played up the threat of civil war if a Communist were elected president.[63]

Additionally, to further guarantee consistent media coverage, in February Yeltsin had fired the chairperson of the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company and replaced him with Eduard Sagalaev.[64][65]

While the anti-communist pro-Yeltsin media bias certainly contributed to Yeltsin's victory, it was not the sole factor. A similar media bias in the run-up to the 1995 parliamentary elections had failed to prevent a communist victory.[4]


Early advertising for the campaign sought to portray Yeltsin as a "president for all". Early billboards of the campaign included slogans such as "Yeltsin is our president" and "Yeltsin is president of all Russia".[6]

One particularly American-style campaign tactic that Yeltsin adopted was the use of direct mail letters.[42]

Television commercials

Before the election, it was originally predicted that Yeltsin's television advertisements would likely resemble those that had been run by Our Home Is Russia in the week prior to the 1995 legislative elections. One such advertisement that had been run by Our Home Is Russia in 1995 featured a man on the street interview of voters, with respondents either replying Our Home Is Russia or the Communist Party. Those supporting the Communist Party were shown to be far more slovenly than those supporting Our Home Is Russia. This particular ad had conveyed an image of a close two-party race (in spite of reality being that Russia's political landscape was then a multi-party system) in order to urge voter turnout. This type of advertisement was seen as having the advantage of scaring voters into supporting Yeltsin as the lesser-evil, and encouraging turnout by portraying a razor-thin race. However, it was also seen as having the disadvantage of reminding the voters that they could vote for Zyuganov if they wish to see Yeltsin removed from office, essentially providing free advertising to the Zyuganov campaign.[21]

Yeltsin's television campaign mainly focused on repairing his own image, rather than issuing attack ads on Zyuganov.[3] The challenge his campaign faced was that, due to Yeltsin's negative ratings and overexposure on television, it was believed he could not effectively deliver his campaign pitch himself. Instead, the pitch would need to be delivered indirectly. This meant that advertisements would not feature Yeltsin himself. A barrage of advertisements were released which featured working-class Russians, veterans, and elderly people providing testimonials in support of Yeltsin's leadership. The groups that were portrayed in these ads were demographics which typically voted for the communist party. Therefore, these ads aimed these testimonials towards peeling-away voters from demographics that typically leaned communist.[3][16]

Yeltsin's television advertising campaign avoided addressing difficult issues, such as the faltering economy.[3] Mikhail Margelov, the head of Video International, said,

We didn't want political or economic discussions. We decided to play on the field of basic human values ... people talking about their lives and basic values. If we came to a discussion of economic problems or crime, it's easy to criticize Yeltsin for that.[3]

Russian law prevented candidates from running advertisements before March 15. However, despite of this regulation, the Yeltsin campaign began broadcasting a set of campaign commercials under the guise of "public service announcements" earlier than was permitted. The Russian airwaves were flooded during on Victory Day with videos in which World War II veterans recalled their service and hinted at an ominous future under communist leadership. In one such video, a veteran remarked, "I just want my children and grandchildren to finally savor the fruits of the victory we fought for."[42]


Election laws specified that campaigns could spend up to $2.9 million.[29] The campaign claimed that its official expenditures were $3 million.[3] This amount does not accurately reflect the amount that was spent towards his campaign in both "unofficial" expenditures and outside expenditures.[3] Estimates of the cost of Yeltsin's campaign extended into the hundreds of millions of dollars.[29]

Yeltsin had run continuous television advertisements that were purchased at $15,000-$30,000 per minute. He employed a large campaign staff, traveled extensively, and distributed enormous amounts of high-quality campaign material.[29]

Yeltsin's campaign effort received immense financial backing from the business community.[3]

Additionally, Yeltsin's government found it necessary to force the Central Bank to provide it an extra $1 billion to fund the campaign promises before the election.[29]

Support from business community

An advantage of incumbency that the campaign benefited from was Yeltsin's ties to Oligarchs. Oligarchs gave significant funding to Yeltsin's campaign. Oligarchs that had benefited under his leadership felt obliged to support him in order to secure their own positions. Oligarchs believed that a communist victory would be devastating for them.[1] Amongst the oligarchs supporting Yeltsin were seven that subsequently were dubbed "Semibankirschina".

Oligarchs and businesses provided the campaign an amount that was estimated to be between $100 million and $500 million.[3] However, as mentioned earlier, the official campaign spending was reported to be a mere $3 million.[3]

In order to begin to deliver on his campaign promises before the day of the election, Yeltsin ordered $1 billion dollars to be issued by the Central Bank to pay for his campaign pledges.[44]

Loans for shares scheme

With the election approaching, strengthening support from Russia's new private business elite was believed to be critical to Yeltsin's reelection effort.[66] Beginning in 1995, Yeltsin's government began to use a loans for shares scheme in privatizing state-owned shares in companies.[3] The auctions were rigged, being non-competitive and frequently controlled by favored insiders with political connections.[67] The scheme was structured in a manner that made Yeltsin's victory a strong interest of the investors involved. The two-stage program was structured so that the loans would be made before the election, but the auction of the shares could only take place beginning after the election, making it of financial concern for them that Yeltsin would win the election.[66]

Low-cost bonds scheme

David E. Hoffman of The Washington Post reported that, during the election effort, Russian oligarchs profited from special deals involving low-cost government bonds. This, consequentially, sweetened the business communities support of Yeltsin's reelection effort.[66]

Campaign organizations

Central campaign

The campaign's headquarters were in the President-Hotel

Chubais, who became the head of the campaign

Oleg Soskovets served as the campaign's original chairman. When it was first launched, the campaign's structure consisted solely of a campaign management team led by Soskovets. The management team had set-up shop at the campaign's headquarters on the ninth level of the President-Hotel.[1]

Yeltsin ultimately fired Soskovets as his campaign chairman on March 23, and hired Chubais to lead the campaign in his place.[1][3] This represented a key change in the ideological slant of the campaign leadership. While Soskovets was a nationalist hardliner, Chubais was an avid reformer.[1]

Additionally, on March 19, Yeltsin had established new "campaign council" to lead the campaign.[1][27] Notably, this campaign council featured a number of liberals, in contrast to the nationalist hardliners that had been appointed to the initial campaign management team.[1] Among those that Yeltsin appointed to the newly-formed campaign council was Viktor Ilyushin, one of the predominate Kremlin insiders who urged him to abandon Skoskovets' campaign strategy.[1] Additionally, after firing Soskovets as the head of his campaign, Yeltsin invited a number of shadow campaign groups to merge their operations with his official campaign effort. In doing so, Yeltsin handed-over much of the many responsibilities of the campaign to these groups.[1]

After integrating various organizations that had been supporting his candidacy, the structure of the central campaign lacked cohesion. Additionally, after the initial creation of the campaign council, the campaign briefly acquired complicated leadership arrangement.[1] Yeltsin had not dissolved the original Soskovets campaign management team. While its leadership had joined the campaign council, they also continued to work independently and maintained offices on a separate floor from the rest of the campaign council members.[27] Between both the campaign council and the original management team (which had not been dissolved), the campaign had acquired two competing leadership groups.[1] However, the campaign council quickly emerged as the predominant leadership group, and ultimately negated the authority of the management team. Consequentially, with the campaign council emerging as the campaign's predominate leadership, liberals were in charge of a campaign that (under its original management team) had previously been run by nationalist-leaning hardliners.[1]

Yeltsin's daughter Tatyana Dyachenko was a key figure, serving as the de-facto co-head of the campaign

While Chubais was the official head of the campaign, being named both Yeltsin's campaign manager and chairman of campaign council, he managed the campaign largely in tandem with Dyachenko, who was the de-facto co-head of the campaign.[1][20] Dyachenko coordinated much of the campaign from her Motorola cell phone.[68][69] Dyachenko used her phone very frequently to remain in constant contact with both her father and with members of the campaign operations.[69] She served as the primary conduit of communication between Yeltsin and his campaign operation.[29][20]

Yury Yarov served as the campaign's executive head.[20]

Also involved in the central campaign was Georgy Rogozin, who was in charge of security, as well as some image-management. Rogozin was given offices on the eighth floor of the President-Hotel.[20] Dyachenko also recruited her associate Viktoriya Mitina to work for the campaign.[20]

Members of the campaign council

• Mikhail Barsukov -fired after Xerox Affair[1][47]
• Viktor Chernomyrdin[1]
• Anatoly Chubais chairman[1]
• Tatyana Dyachenko[1]
• Viktor Ilyushin[1]
• Alexander Korzhakov -fired after Xerox Affair[1][47]
• Yury Luzhkov[1]
• Igor Malashenko[1][21]
• Sergei Shakhrai[1]
• Yury Yarov[1]
• Nikolai Yegorov[1]

Ilyushin oversaw the overall campaign operations.[29] He exerted strategic control over the campaign.[20] Dyachenko was in charge of personal contact between Yeltsin and the campaign.[29][20] Chubais was in charge of the campaign's finances.[29] Chernomyrdin was in charge of financial policy.[52] Malechenko was responsible for media relations. Luzkhov led the campaign efforts within the city of Moscow.[29][15]

Analytical group

On March 19, simultaneously to forming the campaign council, Yeltsin also impaneled an "analytical group" to be led by Chubais.[27] The organization enlisted the work of Dyachenko, Malashenko, Illyushin and Saratov as well as Valentin Yumashev, pollster Aleksandr Oslon, Vasily Shakhnovsky (chief of staff to Moscow's Mayor Luzhkov), Media-Most executive Sergei Zverev, and Duma deputy (and former deputy premier) Sergei Shakhrai.[27]

Foreign consultants

Flush with money, the central campaign hired an extensive amount of contractors for its campaign efforts. Most major research groups, think tanks, and public relations firms in Russia, at one point, worked for the campaign.[1] However, with Russians being relatively new to electoral politics, the campaign campaign also solicited the advice of private consults from abroad.[18][28] Among those advising the campaign was Tim Bell, a British political strategist that had helped shape the public-image of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.[16]

Team of Americans

A team of American political consultants (including George Gorton, Joe Shumate, Richard Dresner) advised the campaign.[3][18][28] They were hired in February by Soskovets, who hired them through a San Francisco firm with connections in Moscow. They were reportedly paid $250,000 for their consultation.[18][28][70][71] Formally, their role was as advisors to the Yeltsin family.[18] The team was given an unlimited budget with which to conduct focus groups and research.[28]

By this time, it was not unusual for experienced American consultants to be recruited to Russian campaigns. However, Yeltsin's team did not want to risk allowing Zyuganov to exploit their presence in the Yeltsin campaign as a means to lodge xenophobia-laden attacks on Yeltsin.[3] They especially worried that the involvement of foreign consultants might play negatively in the particularly nationalistic tone of the 1996 election.[3] Yeltsin's team of American political consultants was kept isolated from the rest of the campaign, and remained a secret until after the election was over.[3][45] They never met with Yeltsin himself, but instead sent detailed and unsigned memos to Dyachenko, with whom they worked closely.[3][18] They worked out of two suites on the eleventh floor of the President-Hotel, directly across the hall from Dyachenko's office.[70] To hide their involvement, the group claimed to be American businessmen conducting consumer research.[18]

Much of their advice proved to be obvious and redundant, however. While they subsequently claimed to have played a critical role in the campaign, this has been refuted by others in the campaign.[70] Dyachenko, for instance, reported that none of their contributions were central to the campaign's planning or strategy.[70][71]

They had no apparent communications with campaign leaders such as Chubais and Malashenko.[70] Because they had been hired by Soskovets, many of those leading the campaign distrusted and disregarded the consultants.[71]

Aleksandr Oslon commented on the role of the American advisors, stating, "when all the real decisions were made, they were not present."[70]

Despite this, the Americans subsequently boasted about their role in the campaign in a Time magazine cover-story which hyperbolically proclaimed, "Yanks to the Rescue".[72][73][71]

National campaign structure

Outside of its central leadership, the campaign consisted of two parallel structures. One was its formal national campaign organization, the second was an organization composed of outside groups.[1]

Formal national campaign organization

The formal nationwide campaign was largely overseen by Yarov, also a member of the campaign council. Yarov was responsible for the national campaign's official organizational work. Under his guidance, the campaign employed local representatives all across Russia. The local representatives were typically individuals who served in local governments.[1]

Shakhrai, also a member of the campaign council, assumed a role of coordinating with regional leaders. This was similar to a role that Yegorov occupied on the campaign management team.[1]

All-Russian Movement for Social Support for the President (ODOP)

The All-Russian Movement for Social Support for the President (also known as the ODOP) was an organization of Yeltsin's campaign which collaborated with outside groups providing their support to his candidacy. This formed the second nationwide structure of the campaign.[1][32] The ODOP and Chubais' campaign council jointly served as the main drivers of Yeltsin's campaign effort.[1]

Originally, Boris Yeltsin saw support from several political leaders and organizations who each declared themselves to be his candidacy's primary nongovernmental sponsor.[1] Vladimir Shumeyko announced that his social organization/quasi political party Reform's New Course would spearhead Yeltsin's reelection effort. Around the same time, the leaders of Our Home – Russia proclaimed that they were to be Yeltsin's primary campaign organization. After weeks of fighting between the two groups, Sergei Filatov started to form what would be the ODOP. The goal was to create a group that would serve as the campaign's predominant national support structure.[1] The group took on the task of finishing the work to secure the requisite paperwork and signatures to officialize Yeltsin's nomination, a task which it finished by April 5.[27][74] They thereafter convened the ODOP's founding congress on April 6. The founding conference made official the ODOP as an organization. It was immediately the most prominent organized movement supporting Yeltsin's candidacy.[1][27]

The organization drew membership from a vast array of more than 250 preexisting organization,[1][27] including political parties, unions, civic groups and social organization. Among the groups were Reform's New Course, Our Home – Russia, Alexander Yakovlev's Russian Party of Social Democracy, Lev Ponomaryov's Democratic Russia and Arkady Volsky's Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs.[1]

The organization was led by Filatov along with Ilyushin.[32] They located the organization's headquarters on the tenth floor of the President Hotel, just above Yeltsin central campaign's offices.[1][20] They hired dozens of campaign managers from various political parties to help run the organization.[1] These included former Press Minister Sergei Gryzonov, Chief of Staff Nikolai Yegorov, and President of the "Politicka" Fund Vyachelslav Nikonov.[32]

People's House

A sub-organization of ODOP was named "People's House". This organization forged connections with citizen groups and was the unofficial disburser of campaign funds.[32][27] This was also directly overseen by Filatov.[32]

Key members of ODOP leadership

• Nikolai Filatov (co-head of ODOP; in charge of PR and People's House)[32]
• Viktor Illyushin (co-head of ODOP; national campaign organizer)[32][6]
• Nikolai Yegorov (in charge of regional work)[32]
• Vyacheslav Nikonov (in charge pre-election analysis)[32]

Moscow campaign organization

A separate campaign organization existed in Moscow, dedicated to rallying votes in the nation's capital, which was a rare bastion of strong support for Yeltsin.[1]

This component of the campaign was established early on. On January 22, it was reported that Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov had set aside his disagreements with Yeltsin to join his campaign. Luzhkov would be tasked with helping deliver Yeltsin votes in Moscow.[15]

Relations between organizations

With the exception of Moscow, it was not clarified what organizations were to be the campaign's primary regional representative. Consequentially, four different organizations acted under the separate assumptions that their regional offices were the primary regional representatives of the campaign. In each region, the formal national campaign organization (led by Yarov) would appoint its own representative. The ODOP would appoint their own separate representative as well. Our Home – Russia, despite being a member of ODOP, also would also appoint representatives of their own. A fourth organization, named NarodnyiDom, would also appoint their own representative.[1] In some locations the regional representatives of these organizations worked together, but in other locations there was no coordination between them.[1]

While confusing, having multiple separate organizations also gave significant flexibility to the national campaign. In regions that had strong local parties and civic organizations, the campaign headquarters would often treat the ODOP as their main regional representative. Therefore, the campaign would benefit from the work of the existing grassroots organizations that composed the ODOP. However, in regions with weaker nongovernmental organizations, the campaign headquarters would often treat the official national campaign organization, headed by Yarov, as their main regional representative. This allowed them to avoid being "held hostage" to the demands of grassroots organizations that had little or no local influence.[1]

Outside groups

While many outside groups supporting Yeltsin officially coordinated with the campaign through the ODOP, a number outside organizations functioned independently of the campaign.


NarodyniDom (народныйдом; English: NationalHouse) was an outside organization supporting Yeltsin's campaign. The official claim was that the nationwide organization provided nongovernmental consultive social services to citizens and that its chapters served a social club for residents with free coffee and occasional entertainment. In actuality, campaign money was funneled through the organization to eschew detection.[1]

Vote or Lose

Shirt from the Vote or Lose campaign

Sergey Lisovsky organized the Vote or Lose campaign. Vote or Lose was a $10 million series of television programs and rock concerts in the style of Rock the Vote. It was a get out the vote campaign aimed at mobilizing the youth vote in support of Yeltsin.[1][59]

See also

• Russian presidential election, 1996
• Opinion polling for the Russian presidential election, 1996
• Semibankirschina
• Soskovets campaign strategy
• Spinning Boris
• Boris Yeltsin presidential campaign, 1991


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