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Konstantin Pulikovsky: “I Was Part of President’s Team, but I Never Became One of Them”

Konstantin Pulikovsky: “I Was Part of President’s Team, but I Never Became One of Them”
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Our interviewee, General and politician Konstantin Pulikovsky, speculates of his military career, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kuban Governor Veniamin Kondratiev.

“I am a sixth generation serviceman. My great-grandfather was a colonel of the tsarist army; my grandfather was a colonel too – he perished at the German battlefront during WWI. Father fought during WWII as commander of an air squadron.

“To Krasnodar I came in 1993. I was serving in Turkmenistan which had by then become an independent state. The Russian troops were being withdrawn from the country; I wanted to move to Russia, so I sent in a report stating my desire to continue serving in any part of the country at the similar position. The decision came quickly, and I was sent to Krasnodar to the post of the first deputy commander of the 49th army.

“I liked the city, but did not have time to enjoy it. It was 1993, the year of the Ossetian-Ingush conflict and the first Chechen war.

“My son [also an army officer] many times asked to send him to Chechnya, but every time his name was crossed out – it was a rule not to send fathers and their sons to fight at war together. Ultimately, my son persuaded his commanders, telling them that he had agreed it with me, and he left for the Caucasus. My conscience did not let me send him back – [and soon he perished on that war].

“After I left army in 1997, Krasnodar Mayor proposed me a job at his office. For two years, I worked at the Committee for Urban Development.

“I understand that now much depends upon Governor Kondratiev whom I know personally. I believe that his experience of governmental officer will help him gather together an excellent team and cope with today’s difficult economic situation.

“I have met and spoken with President Putin hundreds of times, but it was business conversations only.

“Once we had an informal conversation on board a plane flying to North America. Putin was asking me in detail about the first Chechen war, what mistakes had been committed there. And I was touched when he asked me how my son had perished [in that war].He really managed to win my favour…”

"I was working as an election agent for Vladimir Putin when he was running for Presidency in 2000. His persuasive victory may have influenced his subsequent personnel decisions. Then the institution of plenipotentiary representatives was a novelty, with no legal basis underneath. It was clear, however, that the main aim of the seven Presidential appointees is to weaken the regional governors and develop the asessment criteria for socio-economic development. This was what I was doing too. Besides, we were working hard to get the regional laws complied with the federal ones.

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