Why Nemtsov did not succeed
"One of his [Yeltsin’s] main tasks was to find a person who would become the president of the country in July 2000, when the elections were to be held. In fact, we know several candidates that the public knew and discussed them. Boris Nemtsov, eg. Boris Nikolayevich [Yeltsin] even introduced him to the leaders of foreign countries when they were on business trips together. And Borya after 1997, when he was pulled out of Nizhny Novgorod, and he, by the way, did not want to move to Moscow, became a federal figure. And we [in the presidential administration] constantly measured the ratings of all possible presidential candidates - Zyuganov, Yavlinsky, etc. And naturally, when Borya began working as the first deputy in the government, he was on the list of measurements. And, probably, by the autumn of 1997, Borya was in the first place, his rating was more than 30%, and he was a real presidential candidate. And, in principle, it was obvious to Boris Nikolaevich at that moment that Nemtsov was the number one candidate.
Next was the Svyazinvest contest, when the government tried to hold an honest and transparent privatization tender. This did not like parts of the business. There was a war between the government and those businessmen who lost this contest. Brilliant journalists and teams worked against Chubais and Nemtsov - this is Dorenko and this is NTV, that same beautiful NTV of the 1990s. In the end, they simply destroyed this government, which was forced to resign. It all ended in default in August 1998.
And a year later, when we measured Boris’s rating, he was within the margin of error. There were about 2-3%, that is, there was no rating. ”
How Primakov tried to fire Putin from the FSB
“Returning to Primakov. Such a small detail - he twice tried to fire Putin from the post of director of the FSB. Few people know this, but let me know. <...>
There is a call, I'm the head of the administration. Autumn 1998, Putin calls: "Valentin Borisovich, I need to urgently drive to you." He drives up and says: “I just talked with Yevgeny Maksimovich Primakov. He asked me, as the director of the FSB, to give the command to follow Yavlinsky, because he is an agent of imperialism, the State Department and is going to the polls. I, as the director of the FSB, believe that this is absolutely unacceptable. If Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin has the same position, I will immediately write a letter of resignation. I believe that we will destroy the FSB if we deal with such matters. The KGB has already dealt with this and has become unclear what organization. Letting the FSB into politics is absolutely unacceptable. ”
I said: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, I am 100% sure that Boris Nikolayevich does not have this position. Primakov proposed this on his own behalf, and not on the position of the authorities. Of course, I’ll talk with Boris Nikolayevich, but I assure you that Yeltsin could not give such a command. ” Of course, this is what happened. This, incidentally, is the question of whether Putin wanted to be in power or not. If at that moment it turned out to be true, but he really didn’t understand, because Primakov at that moment was becoming a powerful figure and could well persuade Yeltsin to look carefully at Yavlinsky, I’m 100% sure that Putin would have submitted his resignation. ”
Why Putin became Yeltsin’s successor
“He saw in him a man who would continue his reforms. That is, liberal reforms, reforms related to the market path that Russia has taken, that Putin will continue to continue reforms and that he will not turn off this main road. For Boris Nikolaevich [Yeltsin], it was important that he was a man of a different generation. He believed that the generation of people who were 45-50 years old in 1991, they should leave, that they should not leave the country, that they had taken too much of the Soviet Union. What should be the generation of those who in 1991 were 25-30 years old.
<...> He saw a man with a rod who in a difficult situation would make the right decisions.
Changing his character, destroying his character, stepping on the throat of his own song, he leaves for six months, because Putin was so important to him, this victory was very important to him. Basically, what happened there. There were elections to the Duma in December 1999. And those parties that Putin supported, they won against everyone. He supported Unity, he supported the Union of Right Forces, and lost the party of Luzhkov-Primakov (meaning the Fatherland-All Russia. - Vedomosti block), the Communists lost, gained about 15% less than they expected. And Boris Nikolayevich realized that this moment, when this wave of elections was successful, the result was brilliant, it was Putin who won, no one had the feeling that Unity and the Union of Right Forces won. Precisely because Putin supported SPS, defeated SPS, precisely because Putin supported Unity, Unity won. And he continued to stand, to be president and prevent Putin from moving on, considered it impossible - and left.
<...> Boris Nikolaevich [Yeltsin] understood that for 10 years people were tired of these politicians. The era of change - it is difficult. And the emergence of a new person, behind whom there are no stories related to privatization and political conflicts, that is, any new person, moreover, strong inwardly, will win over the old people. <...> "
Did Yeltsin regret choosing Putin
“I periodically ask myself this question, because Boris Nikolaevich and I never discussed this, although at some point I became his son-in-law.
This project was for him like the birth of his son. A hurt story. You can’t imagine how he [Yeltsin] rejoiced on December 31, 1999. It seems to be a difficult day for him: everyone said that he loves power, that he cannot live without power. But he resigns from his post six months ahead of schedule in order to give Putin a head start against Primakov and Luzhkov, so that there is an opportunity with an even greater guarantee to win the election. He is an absolutely happy person that day.
I am sure that Boris Nikolayevich did not have this question during the first term. Those reforms that were carried out were the most important for liberal Russia, for the reform of Russia. Budget Code. The tax code — those things that Yeltsin could not pass through the Duma — were adopted precisely during Putin’s first term. Generally speaking, the movement towards capitalism, towards the market was concreted precisely during Putin's first term. A lot of things have been curtailed, and for a lot that happened in the 1990s, now there are big questions - about the media, about the state’s participation in large companies. But still - the most important movement has occurred. They didn’t turn from this path, because Yeltsin once made the right choice. ”