“Naya, I decided to resign”: excerpts from the memoirs of Naina Yeltsin
14 Mar Naina Yeltsin turned 85. TASS publishes a Chapter from her yet-unreleased tell — all story about how Boris Yeltsin chose a successor and decided to leave the Kremlin.
In the near future in publishing “Sinbad”, a book entitled “Naina Yeltsin. Private life.”
“I do not like publicity, do not like to give interviews, but somehow it happened after Boris Nikolayevich, I began to accept interview, to talk about our lives. I owe it to my husband, explained Naina Yeltsin, the desire to write a memoir. — It’s a shame that now after all this time, our young scientists, for some reason they are all so altered, so much untruth. And when you read the lies, it hurts the soul, not only to me but to all those who this difficult time have experienced.”
TASS publishes a Chapter of a book “Next to the former President,” in which we are talking about how Boris Yeltsin chose his successor, was his last day in power and whether he could adapt to a “peaceful” life.
Next to the former President
A year and a half before the presidential election in the Newspapers and on television are increasingly talking about possible successors to Boris. These conversations occurred before, especially when Boris himself gave the reason for them. So, one day during a meeting with bill Clinton, he introduced his successor, Boris Nemtsov.
He wrote that the next President of Russia can become a Victor Stepanovich Chernomyrdin. Later as the successor to Nikolai Aksenenko and Sergey Stepashin. It turned out that Boris is going to just hand someone power. This could not be in principle.
The second President of Russia had to win in a free election as they won the first President. No other options, of course, was not considered.
But this does not mean that Boris wasn’t thinking about who will replace him as President. It is, of course, look to people who could replace him. For him it was important that the next President of Russia continued its policy, which the country chose in ‘ 91 — the path to the market, democracy, the rule of law. At the same time he thought, and about who can get the people in the elections. To the 99-th year, it was clear that none of those whose names are associated reforms of the early 90s, not elected, it was hard for the people these years.
Boris really was thinking about different people. Including about Sergei Stepashin, who in 1999 became Prime Minister. But soon, I think, understood that Sergey Stepashin is not very suitable for such work. Despite the fact that he appreciated his education and intelligence confused by the lack of character Stepashin some very important qualities required of a future President. Boris never spoke on this subject, but it was clear. In August 1999 he sent Stepashin’s resignation and appointed Chairman of the government Vladimir Putin.
I was very surprised when you write that Putin “has come out of nowhere”. This, of course, wrong. Boris have long been eyeing Vladimir Putin, who has previously worked in St. Petersburg Vice-mayor Anatoly Sobchak. The post of the chief of control management of the President, he suggested that Putin is no accident. Then appointed him to a higher position — first Deputy head of his administration, then Director of the FSB.
Boris believed that Vladimir Putin is not only smart and competent leader, but also a deeply decent man. Really appreciated his patience and strong-willed character. In the few months that Vladimir Vladimirovich held a post of the Prime Minister, Boris was convinced that was not mistaken in it: Putin has everything to become a worthy leader of the country.
Boris no one discussed the nomination of Putin as successor. It was his personal decision.
After the death of Boris, there was speculation that Putin allegedly gave him and our family some assurance of immunity. This, of course, complete nonsense. Boris even could not imagine about any backroom agreements. The only thing he asked Putin to protect Russia. And these are his words heard.
…On the night of 31 December 1999 Boris slept badly. Tossing and turning, get up, I brought him his tea. Could see him worried about something. Got up earlier than usual — about six o’clock. Had Breakfast. Started to get ready for work.
Long chose a suit that was unlike him. Called us with Tanya: “What to wear?” Tanya said, “Dark blue”. Asked me: “let’s change the tie, and this node is not the same, and color…” I did not argue, brought another. But didn’t understand why he so carefully chooses the suit and tie, after recording the Christmas appeal has already passed.
Already putting on his coat, Boris said: “Naya, I decided to resign”.
I ran to him, hugged, kissed, eyes were tears of joy. It to relieve the tension, said, “watch the suit pomnu”.
Boris and Tanya left on the clock — eight. I was left alone. What to do, I don’t know anything. Did that for one, for another. Then got to thinking. Boris will announce his decision? Not in the new year the same treatment? So before the New year? And people are already preparing for the holiday, buying gifts, going on a visit… In any case, this news will be for the country a shock. Better if Boris is not going to be doing it before the New year. Called the Secretariat. I said, “Boris is busy, can not speak”. Started calling Tanya is not responding. Finally got through: “Tanya, do not need today. Set aside at least a few days. Talk to your dad.” Tanya sat me down: “don’t worry, everything will be fine. Watch twelve hours of TV.”
The last day of the 99th year I have spent in joy and at the same time in alarm. What will happen to the country? Boris will survive this difficult time? Will we be able to help him? Then came Lena. Became somehow quieter. Waited together for his treatment.
Boris came home early — it was still light. More in his Kremlin office, he did not return even once.
Back in that day, from the threshold said, “the machine called bill Clinton. And I did not talk to him, promised to call back. You can afford — I’m not the President.” Called almost all the leaders that I worked with Boris.
This day our whole family will be remembered as a wonderful holiday. We felt: our shoulders fell a huge load. Tanya said afterwards: “It was the best New year in my life.”
In all the years we spent in Moscow, I really don’t remember that little new year’s mood at the family table.
Raising his glass, Boris said, looking at me, “I have changed my principles. Now in the first place did not work, and you and the family. Everything else can wait.”
Boris loved the New year. And the whole family too. Usually he played the role of Santa Claus, we told him when he bought a red robe, hat, wand, beard with moustache… Small grandchildren didn’t recognize him. Christmas trees always put in the house and on the street. In 12 hours raised their glasses of champagne at the table, and then went out on the snow, under the stars. Met twice. First time in Sverdlovsk, then in Moscow.
And so was new year’s eve from 1999 to 2000. The morning came. Boris woke up very late — probably around ten o’clock. It was amazing, he was up very early. Of course, we’re all a little afraid this morning in a different, new life. But this day, January 1, was easy.
We all tried to support Boris, not to leave one. Children, grandchildren all around. Understand that it will not be easy.
Boris whole life has been immersed in the work, now he had to live a new life. How? Than he himself is? Whether something to fill free time, which for the first time in his life to be so much? But we worried in vain.
He was able to do myself. Began to read a lot, watched sports program, we had volleyball and tennis. Often went into the theatre, seeing friends.
Boris and his assistant Vladimir Nikolayevich Shevchenko made a plan to travel for a year — now we could go with the whole family, with children and grandchildren. It became a tradition after retirement. Each time at the end of the year they with Shevchenko painted schedule our trips around the country and the world.
First trip in January 2000 were to Israel. It was planned long ago, Boris as President were invited to the celebration of the 2000th anniversary of Christianity in Jerusalem. Despite his resignation, decided that the country was supposed to submit its first President. There arrived heads of state and patriarchs of the Church. The ceremony was held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For me it was the first trip to the Holy places.
And February 1, celebrated the birth of Boris. As always, at home. It came to congratulate Patriarch Alexy, acting President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the heads of the CIS States. They all sat at the same table: Leonid Kuchma, Alexander Lukashenko, Eduard Shevardnadze, Askar Akayev, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Heydar Aliyevich Aliyev, Islam Karimov, Emomali sharifovich Rakhmonov, Mr. Kocharian Kocharian. All the leaders of the CIS countries, except Turkmenistan’s President, who could not come, was sitting at the same table. This birthday we had once.
The food in the restaurant was not ordered. All prepared in our kitchen. Was on the table and duck, which he shot Boris in the fall. They smoked and froze. I had to spend in the kitchen a lot of time: it was necessary to prepare their desserts — their baked myself.
Each gave a toast in honor of Boris. Sat there for a while, conversations were many.
For leaders of post-Soviet countries it was important to see that in Russia everything is calm, despite the voluntary resignation of the President.