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“ the Russian soldiers now are at war in the Chechen Republic against Islamic extremism and the international terrorism. Europe should be grateful to us for it “
Putin meets Vladimir PUTIN`S Interview of MAREKU ALTERU vigorous hand shake and a direct sight. As all people of small growth, it keeps very directly and hardly lifts up a head.
- with what we will begin? - He asks.
- from you.
- from me? - He is surprised.
- yes, the mister the president. After all the world does not know neither your past, nor men and the women making your private life. So to a world press does not remain anything else how to present you as the former agent of KGB.
the mention of work in KGB, apparently, at all does not confuse my interlocutor. More likely even amuses. It reminds me that George Bush before to become the US president, was the head of CIA.
Vladimir Putin: At the Soviet power work in bodies of external investigation was considered as a great honour and was accessible only to elite.
talking to the Russian president about that epoch, I realise that we communicate as though in different languages. For me a word “ KGB “ was and remains a symbol of system of suppression, symbol GULaga. For it it is simply espionage organisation in which numbers he wanted to realise the children`s dream - to become Russian James Bond.
Marek Alter: you since the earliest childhood dreamt to become the secret agent. Then within 16 years you were it. This experience has carried out or has destroyed your children`s dreams?
Century P: At all has not destroyed! More likely it has brought to me a heap of surprises. Especially when I have arrived to East Germany. At us then reorganisation has already begun and there was a revaluation of many postulates of communistic ideology. And there I as though have appeared for 20 years earlier...
During conversation my sight falls on its library. I approach to regiments, it follows me. The beret also tells volume of the encyclopaedia, as though apologising:
Century P: My books always with me.
M. A: you still have time for reading?
Century P: Yes, here has just read Nabokov`s two novels. Except classics - Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, - I still very much love Hemingway. In youth read Sent - Ekzjuperi... “ the Small prince “ knew almost by heart.
M. A: And Alexander Duma?
Century P: (His face brightens.) in due time I swallowed of novels Duma one after another. Sometimes to me even started to seem that I go mad. (Laughs loudly.) Seriously! When I have swallowed all these tomishchi, I have felt any emptiness as if has come to be in desert. Anything, except adventures “ Three musketeers “ me did not interest any more.
I approach to a window, I move apart curtains and I ask:
- And what is visible to you from a window, the mister the president?
Century P: (With astonishment.) the Wall... What communication with Alexander Duma?
M. A: Duma if you know, some times came to Russia. He wrote that everyone who settles behind gear walls of the Kremlin, ceases to understand, how there live Russian people. It appears cut off from the world...
century P: It was right. Therefore I also do not live in the Kremlin. (Thinks.) Yes, Duma was absolutely right. But it concerns not only those who in the Kremlin. Illness of isolation all who holds high posts suffer. When the level of responsibility becomes high, start to be content with reading of the file and environment councils.
the first Russian leader who is not playing chess
To us bring tea. It pours to itself(himself) of a few milk and tells about the grandfather, the cook. He is proud of it: the person of an old school, Putin - the senior served faithfully still to Lenin, and then, after death of the leader, and to Stalin. It has ended the life in an old people`s home where, being already in extreme old age, still prepared.
Vladimir Putin studies me. The mobile eyes, live and with hitrinkoj, he counts my movements, as if the judoist estimating the opponent. And I suddenly understand that before me the first Russian head who is not playing chess sits. And after all it is very important! The one who plays chess, knows that wins usually the strongest. And here in a judo always it is supposed that the opponent is stronger. And to throw it on tatami it is possible only having estimated its force.
M. A: When you are going to finish war in the Chechen Republic?
Putin is straightened, its pale cheeks turn pink. He waited for this question from the very beginning of conversation.
Century P: And we have already finished. There there is no war.
M. A: Yes, but in the Chechen Republic people continue to perish.
Century P: to Deny difficultly, but it any more war.
M. A: And what this such?
Century P: Antiterrorist operation. More precisely even, special operation. To speak about war still it was possible at the conflict initial stage when considerable military forces have been involved.
M. A: Not so it is important, as it to name, war or fight against terrorism. But people perish. Russian, Chechens... It is impossible to admit destructions of the whole people, whatever it was, it is necessary to search for the decision...
century P: Certainly. And all - taki I want to tell to you that if there was no attack to Dagestan in the last summer, anything and does not happen. Russia was not ready, she did not want neither wars, nor bloodsheds. What, Russia should continue to reconcile to that shame to which it was exposed within last three years? And it was exposed to it - first of all has left to the mercy of fate the citizens. We were witnesses of destruction in territory of the Chechen Republic both Russian, and the Russian-speaking population. And nobody interfered. Even during attacks on the Russian territories... Even after mass kidnappings. And you know that the quantity of the people stolen in the Chechen Republic reaches two thousand! Interests of extremists, field commanders from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan have not something in common with interests of the Chechen people. Chechens have started to abduct Chechens, it never before was not in the history of the country!
“ we do not exterminate people, as rats “
M. A: I understand that you speak, the mister the president. But any conflict can be resolved. To finish war, it is necessary to learn to talk to the opponent... I remember Itshaka Rabin who very much loved. He said about Palestinians that they gangsters... That it will erase them in a powder... And then it has shaken hands with Jaseru Arafat.
Century P: I will answer you. Allow me to remind at first to you that the Chechen people manipulated and abused its aspiration to independence... However on your question what to do with Chechens, I will answer: we are going to conclude with them the contract.
M. A: Vladimir Vladimirovich, and you speak about what Chechens?
Century P: As you understand, I speak about the head of the Chechen administration muftis Kadyrov. During the first Chechen war he up in arms was at war against Russia. It stood in one I build with president Dudaev... Fairly to you I admit, it was hard to me to appoint its head of republic. In Russia it is appointment estimate on - to a miscellaneous. It was necessary to affect personally.
M. A: And with whom you will carry on negotiations, except mufti Kadyrov?
Century P: you heard that three Chechen commanders have declared that lay down arms, and have urged the others to follow to their example. With them we are ready to conduct peace talks. We do not exterminate people, as rats on corners. We offer the world even to those who was at war up in arms. The law on amnesty is my initiative.
M. A: So particularly you offer them? Many of them would like independence...
century P: You know that though till 1996 Russia and did not recognise independence of the Chechen Republic in the legal plan, but actually the Chechen Republic was absolutely independent. The president has been selected, the constitution has been accepted, our armed forces have been deduced, militian divisions, courts, Offices of Public Prosecutor and etc. have been liquidated And the Chechen Republic has turned to base for an attack to Russia. Reconcile to it we could not. Considering all it, would be the big error to suppress aspiration of a part of the Chechen people to independence. The modern society possesses the whole scale of various decisions...
he long looks at me as if checking, whether well I have understood. And suddenly remembers that else wanted to add:
- Some western mass-media extend idea that Russia is at war against Moslems. It is absolute lie! Russia, you perfectly know it, as lived here, is the country in which Christians and Moslems of hundred years lived nearby in full harmony.
I understand that the Russian president has a grudge against the western press and intelligency which constantly represent Russia in black paints, though as Putin speaks, “ do not know neither its history, nor its people “ and “ do not consider that she only - only recovers “. I translate conversation on Islam:
- the Ideology has given way to religions. People cannot live without belief and hope.
Century P: the Religion is too ideology.
M. A: Yes, but after all there were also secular ideologies, such if want, religions without god. I about it talked to the Pope.
Century P: I met not so long ago John Pavel II.
M. A: you know that the father considers that the unique danger existing today on a global scale, is an Islamic fundamentalism. The Christianity integrated into democratic system, is separated from the state.
Century P: Yes, we spoke with the father about it. He has told to me that Muslim extremists with representatives of Vatican in Algeria or the Western Timor do. It exactly same that was done by the Chechen extremists with Russian people.
“ fascist plans of the International Islamic front “
M. A: Means, you consider that today Russia is a world advanced post on a way of Muslim expansion. I speak not only about the Chechen Republic, but also about Asia: about Kirghizia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan.
Century P: I am glad to hear that Russian soldiers stand today on a front line in struggle against Islamic extremism. It is valid so. Unfortunately, understand it the few. Today we become witnesses of formation of the international fundamentalism, a such arch of the instability stretched from Philippines to Kosovo. It is huge danger first of all for Europe where there lives a considerable quantity of Moslems. Islam - religion of peace and fair people. But those who hides behind Islam and tries to reach the provocative and terrorist purposes, discredit millions the people practising this religion. You, of course, know it: one of the extremist organisations, the International Islamic front, headed by the world terrorist number one Osama bin Laden, under my data, has set to itself a problem to create Islamic halifat. This union will include variety of the Islamic states, including some republics of Central Asia which you have already mentioned, and also a part of present territory of the Russian Federation. Here these are these fascist plans - I name their fascist because they call for creation of the fighting organisation against Jews and against “ cross carriers “ as they name Christians. It really terrorist internatsional. In general, Europe should admire us and to be grateful that we conduct fight against terrorism. Though, unfortunately, we combat one.
M. A: What your offers on struggle against religious extremism?
Century P: you after all know, there is only one means: growth of well-being of the Muslim population and the Muslim countries as a whole, and also creation of universal values. All the rest will be put. Basically that religious extremism with which we struggle in the North Caucasus, is based on, so to say, communistic idea of redistribution of riches and struggle for the best future. It is easier to tempt poor people with idea about the world equality, as religious extremists about whom there was a speech do. Therefore it is possible to operate only with the methods mentioned above.
M. A: to you has had the luck to become the president of the great country and the remarkable people who, however, never knew neither freedom, nor democracies and which waits from you for something. What your program? Whether you are going to conduct fight against corruption? Or to redistribute riches?
Century P: Actually, asking this question, you have approached to the answer. There are two ways: struggle against poverty and struggle against corruption. Everything that the president and the government does, should answer these problems. We cannot struggle with corruption, without developing democratic institutes of a civilised society. I mean freedom of the press, religions, political movements and parties, and also division of branches of the power and development of judicial system. When I speak about the strong state, I put such state which is capable to operate effectively in this concept. Certainly, it should be accompanied by strengthening of institutes of market economy. To take away at rich and to distribute poor - worst of decisions. On the contrary, we should strengthen a principle of the property and give to each of proprietors - both large, and small - firm confidence that they can not only keep the property, but also increase it, place and use in territory of the Russian Federation.
M. A: Often it is necessary to hear a mention of your phrase that in genes of each Russian the love to the centralised power is put. It would be desirable to know, and whether there is in genes of our Russian friends a love to democracy?
Century P: I really spoke about genes? Should not... I, by the way, consider that centralisation of the power and democracy - the things which are not contradicting each other.
“ if the father arrives here, it should meet the patriarch “
M. A: And how you explain absence here contradictions?
Vladimir Putin is unexpectedly irritated. Having seized sharp movement a cup, he drinks a drink of tea with milk. Calms down.
Century P: Well. We take at random any country. We will assume, France. France after all the centralised state? Understand, unlike Russia France - the state not federal, but unitary. The power there even more centralised, than in Russia. But whether it is possible to deny, what France - the democratic state?
it sharply turns a head towards the adviser, doing to it signs, and waves away from it the back party of a palm. Vladimir Putin yet has not finished.
Century P: you have correctly told that Russia lived at an absolutism, then at communism and never knew democracies. And all - taki democratic institutes get accustomed easily enough in our society. But gradually.
the president rises and invites me to walk on presidential apartments. On a threshold of a drawing room he turns around again to me:
- And with the father you spoke on - polski?
M. A: Yes. And you after all have invited him to Moscow?
Century P: Has invited. But if the father arrives to Moscow and will not meet the patriarch, it will be scandal. And what for visit with scandal is necessary to us? It will not pull together our positions. He it perfectly understands all.
M. A: you want to reconcile Vatican with Orthodox church?
Century P: It is necessary.
eleven evenings. The adviser of the president is nervous even more. But president Putin wants to reproach once again in My person the West, its press and its intelligency.
M. A: And France? You read what Frenchmen write about you?
Century P: it is absolutely senseless to say that I am satisfied or not satisfied by that Frenchmen write about me. I am am excited first of all with another: that Frenchmen think of me. After all till now it is impossible to equate that write, and that think of somebody.
Vladimir Putin takes me for a hand. He to me has told still not all. Has not shared the plans, has not transferred the message to different people. But on the person of the president the weariness is already visible. Ahead at it still other meetings. I look back round myself and suddenly I understand that in one of rooms on which Vladimir Putin has spent me, even in its office, have not appeared from the moment of its arrival to the power of anything personal. On a table there are photos no daughters, the wife. Any personal things, any gift. There is no also own photo habitual in similar cases on a wall. In this premise which we often see on television and which actually much more, than it seems, it one. Any a bit lost, he says goodbye to me as though regretfully. Indoors with us just the adviser, the person with call of duty.
“ I never would began to aspire to become the president “ - I suddenly speak. “ and I too did not aspire “ - answers, smiling, Vladimir Putin.