Vadislav Kornilov (had been SPC sec), 1991

Interviewer — Metta Spencer
This discussion took place at his apartment over dinner. Kornilov was the Soviet Peace Committee leader who first gave me the awareness that what they said on and off stage were very different. He complained privately to me when I failed to mention human rights in a dialogue.
In 1991 he had become leader of an environmental organization,Save Peace and Nature, but then vanished. I have tried to trace him without luck. Tair Tairov says that something tragic happened to him but he does not know what.

SPENCER: Sure, Russell-Einstein.

KORNILOV: And do you know that the E.N.D movement; Nuclear Disarmament Movement which is the main maker of those Conventions. So this E.N.D. Movement is based on the Bertrand Russell & Einstein Manifesto.

SPENCER: More so PUGWASH: much more explicitly so. I mean I am an active member of the PUGWASH and they make a lot of the fact that they are based on that.

KORNILOV: Yes, but I started, you know, with this…

SPENCER: You know now there is no hope Galia! (Laughs).

KORNILOV: Yes, I started with E.N.D. and the Russell Manifesto explicitly because of the reason that what we are calling now or later New Political thinking, is a bigger part, the component of the B Russell Manifesto. And what are the new points of this New Political thinking? This is recognition of the priority of human values over lets say, (016) Metatherian Political Values. And this is the point no.1 in the manifesto of Bertrand and Einstein. Second, the main achievement of the new political thinking was the recognition by the Soviet side of the equal responsibility of at least two biggest Super powers; the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. for the Arms race, especially for Nuclear weapons and it was one of the key points of the Russell and Einstein Manifesto and the E.N.D. Program. Then the sad key point of the New Thinking that human rights are absolutely invisible from all other price of just nations and the result assuring of human rights is not possible to speak seriously about disarmament and about economic development and so on, and this was one of the discovering points of new political thinking. But as I said the B Russell manifesto had a key point, so it means, practically that those Human Values and Democratic principles which were more or less accepted by Principle Democracies, they were represented or presented afterwards as the Key points of the New Political thinking. They are closest of the West, were for that, not because Russia or the Soviet Union came to Democracy by that time. But their closest version, new leaders, younger leaders than before of the Sov. Union made it as the key point of his policy. And even the Western public opinion has forgotten a little bit that, lets say a lot Democracy has been guided since centuries or atleast years and years by those principles. But the surprise was that the Sov. Union began to think in this way, and this is my understanding of New Political Thinking. But for the Russian population and the Sov. union and the Intelligencia, it was also a kind of discovery, a new hope, that finally our leaders, this is my standpoint that a leader was always a leader because we did not know about Democracy, since we had no historical evidence, but finally our leader associated by his thinking, either old ,new or refreshed, to the Democratic values which have already been recognized by a large majority of countries as well. Now just you raised the second question that if it is true, that through lets say magazines problems, peace and Socialists, some ideas of new political thinking have been formed. Partially, your question is correct. May be it is my very subjective opinion, but I was associated since very long time with the International Youth Movement, Peace Movement, to different conferences, and I knew a lot about the International Dept. of the Communist Party of the U.S.S.R. because it was not a secret, it was never a secret, that really the ___ simple rise ____ of the full majority of all so called Non-governmental Soviet organizations. My assessment was and still is that lets say the middle stage of the Communist Party of this country has more sensitive people and quite educated with a lot of experience in lets say International Life. They have the privilege to visit a lot of the countries. They have a lot International contacts and not just Communists, but with representatives of different political parties. They new from the very beginning, the Social Democratic trends in the International and Domestic policies of W. Germany and Scandinavian countries. So they have been associated in their life a lot, to different way of thinking than official thinking and officially accepted thinking of their times, you understand. That’s why a lot of ideas which became recently, standpoints of the official Soviet and Russian policy, they were ideas that were in their head including those people who were acting proud and I cannot say that everybody was like that but anyway, some people who had this international experience in working with different organizations across the world, before Perestroika, in some way of the other they prepared or if you like, were the first supporters of New Political Thinking. And they were around Gorbachev and they were first to say that you are right, it is very interesting, it looks very promising and they organized the very propaganda campaign about the New Political thinking. And persons like Andrei Grachov, he worked also in different international organizations and he was just one of the advisors of Gorbachev and he was a big supporter of this New Political thinking. Take Yakovlev. He is a very experienced politician and an External diplomat and he was our Ambassador in your country, Canada, and he was also, lets say one of the big supporters and even one of the makers of this new political thinking policy, and Shevednarze, because of his diplomatic experience and his knowledge of what other people think about. He was also around Gorbachev, together in this thing, and it is also recognized that the New Political Thinking as a theory, as a combination of ideas came out from officially from Gorbachev and some people from the party.

SPENCER: Everything you have said, fits the things that I had been picking up, in the last while. Some people seemed to be pretty extreme; they seemed to feel that the people in the International Dept. and especially those who had been in Prague, because apparently they were very loyal to each other; they gave each other jobs and saved each other from being sacked and what not, that the International Dept. or these people with these progressive ideas knew each other as the Children of the 20th Congress, and had been planning for years to find a way to put their program across. And it was even said that they were even responsible for the elevation of Gorbachev. I don’t see how that is possible. I mean if they are not in the Politburo, they could not be responsible. But that this was the base, the source and the strength of Gorbachev, this group of people.

KORNILOV: I guess that to answer more or less correctly, at least on my part on your question, we need to understand that these people from the international department of the Communist party, of this the group that are from Prague or Prague based international organizations, they did not have enough influence in order to ensure that Gorbachev’s coming was involved. Because the structure of the Communist party is quite different. They were lets say middle rank officials, diplomats with a little bit of political education, with a different political and lets say, civic vision of the world, but they did not have enough power to help Gorbachev come to power.

SPENCER: So they did not have the power?

KORNILOV: No they did not have the power to do that. They could support, they could well organize a campaign to propagate the New Political Thinking, to propagate the image of Gorbachev, to support him when he was already at the top of his power. Because the normal procedure for becoming the Gen. Secretary of the Communist Party and the Gen.Secretary of the Politburo, was dependant on the Politburo itself; which was a quite restricted lobby. There were time to time, eight, nine, twelve, and not more than fifteen and only they could decide who will be the successor of the previous one. This is one point. Certainly, they had when nominating or electing if you like, but it was always nomination of the next Gen.Secretary, they had to take into account the position of the, lets say of the Central Committee of the Party. And the Central Committee as you can imagine was not elected; it was always named and agreed upon by the Politburo. Each candidate for the Central Committee of the Party was examined very thoroughly, and so, when nominating a new Gen. Secretary,they had to account the position of the Central Committee, and the position of the Central Committee was always the same as the Politburo. The composition of the Politburo and the Central Committee at the time of Gorbachev, showed the notion of discipline, if you understand what I mean, of the very strict behaviour was playing its own role. The top Leader or the role of the Gen. Secretary was the role no.1. It was the most important. If the Gen. Secretary is not agreeing on something, it means that the whole Politburo must not have agreed on the standpoint or whatever. Thus Gorbachev could not be supported strongly by the composition of the Politburo nor the composition of the Committee. Only, lets say, being the top leader of the party, he could impose to the Politburo and to the Central Committee, the decision to start this new thinking, and when people said, “okay, you are always right, Comrade Gen. Secretary”, then the new political thinking started to flow. But when Gorbachev was a little bit fast, and when he came against rivals of this new political thinking, when he was obliged to put forward some modifications, some reforms or lets say illusions of reforms which were not fitting with the old Communist deputies, then you have got what you want. You’ve got _____ position by Ligachev, by Yazhov, then you have got the scandal with Yelstin at the meeting of the Central Committee of the party, but Yelstin just started from the other side. He wanted Perestroika to go more faster but once the breeze started, then the full composition of the Politburo changed and Gorbachev realized that if he wanted to continue this Perestroika and the new political thinking, and when he was nominated or elected, if you like, the President of the U.S.S.R., he realized that to have to political powers in the country, the President and the Party; that was not possible. Then all the changes and the transformations started, Politburo became a kind of nominated or elected full-time members of the Politburo of the Party. Gen. Secretaries of the Republican and Communist parties were introduced in this Politburo. The Politburo lost all of its previous power and the Central Committee of the Party was changed. A lot of the old members of the Committee withdrew themselves, because they were very old and were buccaneers, but these changes were at the same time provoked by disagreement of a lot of old party leaders on the level of the Central Committee or Politburo and they also had a lot fears of the authority of the Gen. Secretary. Both of them you know played the role. And coming back to this very seen level of supporters of International Party intelligentsia, really they could support Gorbachev only, lets say, like an already done figure, like an already existing figure. That’s why all the old leaders left; they became buccaneers. So this is more of a developed, but detailed answer to your question.

SPENCER: I saw Arbatov yesterday and he said he was the most severe critique of Gorbachev, and he was part of that group, the International Dept, and so he was a big supporter of the Gorbachev initially and then washed his hands of him, eventually. I don’t know, but that’s not true of the other people that I have met. They are much more— I guess the really interesting question that I get very very different answers to, is whether Gorbachev really was his own person, from the fall of 1990 or even earlier, but mostly the fall of 1990, and different people tell me different things. Apparently he thought that the only way to stay in office was to make some sort of an alliance with them and that he was forced in his mind to make some sort of an alliance. Other people, in fact everybody, said that it was a mistake. A few people say, yeah, that suppose he was right because he would have been forced out of office, then would people still feel that he should have done that. May be not, if it in fact it would have been giving in to them or opening a way for Hardliners, then may be people should not blame him for staying in and trying to out manoeuvre them. But most, people, even those who supported him very strongly for a long time, say that it was a mistake. Even people who forgive him for this action, say it’s a mistake.

KORNILOV: I don’t know if I can add to this very different and huge structure of assessments. In my opinion, the Gorbachev phenomenon is more complicated than that. Any way, you know a lot of people in this country. They were fascinated by, lets say, some attempts for reform realized by Nikita Khrushchev, in the 1960s. And they were very dissatisfactory and were complaining that there hopes were not realized by this plan of Khrushchev. And the majority was _____ waiting — unfortunately not for, lets say, a kind of Self-organizations of those waiters, but they were waiting for a new political leader, more clever, more democratic, more open to the world and more intelligent if you like. Either we like it or not, this has always been a tradition in this country, and I have always insisted that we have no Democratic experience here, since the very beginning of the history of Russia. And there hopes were directed on waiting for this new comer, who could resole their problems, who could start the second stage towards Democracy or attempt to make the system more Democratic. We should not forget that the signing of the Helsinki Final Act was a very important period for the intelligencia in this country. Because when lets say, these political games were around, formulations of the Helsinki Final Act, when Soviet Diplomats were trying to go Europe and show that everything is alright, or more or less alright in this country, an important part of the population of this country had a new hope that with the signing of the Helsinki Final Act, it could be easier for a lot of things, for a freedom of class, freedom of expression, and our official Policy of that period was also promising. More delegations came to this country, more people went to foreign countries to meet their colleagues, more literature came here around the period of signing the Helsinki Final Act and the people who wanted a new democratic leader, they had a very short period of new hopes that it could be better for this country. But afterwards, the paper was signed and nothing was done here. Some representatives of the people, intellectuals, they tried to make some steps for Democratic improvements, but you know what destiny they had. Nothing was possible to make any serious gain here and then finally Gorbachev came and his phenomenon is very complicated because of many reasons and it will remain a kind of a mystery of the end of the 20th Century. Nobody knows what led Gorbachev to stop those modifications and revolts in this country. Maybe he felt, that in front of the world, with our economy and our values and our way of treating those values will not allow us to move any further. May be this was one of the reasons of Gorbachev to stop this politics. At least this is one of the possible reasons why he started those modifications here, but I guess, that may be this is not very first reason but a consequence.


KORNILOV: He started to do a lot of very progressive things, in the International Politics. In my opinion, it is easier to do International Politics than to do Domestic Politics. And from time to time, Gorbachev had to deal with this very old and deep International Programs like Afghanistan war, the Nuclear Disarmament or Armament. Anyway, when being in U.S.A., in W.Germany, in France and promising the Reunification of Germany, signing agreements on Nuclear weapons, he was very popular and had a close personality and may be the first one from our side, and he was accepted in a very positive way. But one time to take some commitments on International level, its necessary to back them with some domestic reforms, and by some domestic changes in order to change the mind of the people here. For instance, when we represent officially at the International level, the Russians were very afraid about the new World war, and it was true. We were pretending in our propaganda campaigns; we were insisting on it that Russians are very afraid about this because of the experience of the n World War and so on. And when Gorbachev started his disarmament process, with Geneva, with Washington, with, the failed meeting in (023) Reakyarie and so on. It was a lot of Russians and Soviets who disagreed to these, because they said these East West Agreements took out our Arsenals. They told Mr. Gorbachev what are you doing. We will be very weak in the Cold war, from the imperialist threats, from American threats and so on. Then in order to explain to the people that those agreement on Disarmament of weapons were correct, he started to do something in this country, introducing more democratic measures; Glasnost in order to give flow to the Intelligencia who could explain that Disarmament is okay for everybody. That Disarmament would result in more cooperation from the West in Economic terms. In my understanding, what Gorbachev started to do abroad obliged him finally, to come to some modifications in the Internal Politics Sphere. This was, lets say consequences of what he started to do abroad and finally when those changes were very well accepted by a lot of people here, when they were very well supported here, when Glasnost became our reality, it provoked immediately some criticism. People started to think more openly, there were courageous points of views, more deep analysis and then they have seen straight away that what Gorbachev is doing is not enough. They immediately made some parallels with the first acts of Khrushchev. They recalled that Khrushchev started also with something very similar but how it was just stopped and why it was stopped. They started to make other parallels and analysis and came to the conclusion that domestic policy must be changed radically. And Gorbachev was not prepared to do this when being yet Gen. Secretary of the party because lets say, the top leaders of the party were not prepared for such radical changes which were requested of him and demanded strongly, by lets say you, Russia, and the Soviet opposition. And that’s why the Politburo and the Central Committee were in some way or the other involved in a coup de tat in August last year. That’s why they started to criticize Gorbachev. That’s why his old friends or colleagues in top the top sphere of the party accused him and our still accusing him of not being a very good Communist; that he was no longer a good Gen. Secretary and had forgotten his old principles of the Communist Decree; that he could not defend properly the codes of the Communist Party. These accusations, they are formulated not by the young generation of Russia, but by the old people; the old Leaders of the party. That’s why the same accusations are going on now, in the Constitutional Court and these are all colleagues of the Central Committee of the Party.

SPENCER: Given what you have said, was it unrealistic of him to believe that if he wanted to stay in office and accomplish anything, that he had to placate these guys to some extent, which meant temporarily joining in a coalition with them? I mean that is what is really interesting. Was he really forced to do that?

KORNILOV: Was he forced to start Perestroika?

SPENCER: No, was he forced to move to the right? Was he forced to placate these guys? Was there a real danger that he would have lost his office and then replaced by a right winger, if he had not?

KORNILOV: I guess he was forced by circumstances and by very objective circumstances to just move to the right, for just one single reason; this country has always had one political party. It was not any political party or any organized political force that which Gorbachev could beleague and be supported by. And there is only the Communist Party, a little bit disintegrated on the top level by his first actions, but however the communist party was the only organized force that could support him. But when I say the Communist Party, I do not mean the members of the party, I am referring to the Top Leaders; of Moscow leadership; of Central Committee; of Regional committees of the parties and the big cities and so on; they were all his supporters and all his enemies. And he was forced to go to the right because the total list of the party on different levels, they did not want to lose their influence, their position, and so far the integration of the party influence, was also very dangerous for the economy. Because economy of the even the so called Socialist Republic was controlled by the party. And the Chief or the director of an enterprise was very dependant on the Secretary of the original party and when Gorbachev said okay now more self reliance and more independence for the economy; party only has to deal with the ideological concepts and theories.

SPENCER: Let me focus my question. What totally obsesses me that one man tells me that the real coup took place in nov, dec, 1990, when these guys came to him and told him that here’s what you are going to do. You are going to sack so and so and so and we are going to follow you to every meeting you are going to and we are going to have one of our people supervise you and every one of your team; every meeting they go to we will go too and we will tell them what to do and don’t you dare do anything else. And he saluted and said okay. And from that point on, everywhere that there was a negotiation going on or everywhere Shakhnazarov went to lunch to, there was this goon who accompanied him, who even made fun of him and laughed at him for the fact that his son’s wife had taken the child out of the country or something, so clearly abusing his authority over someone like Shakhnazarovov and Gorbachev for example was negotiating with James Baker over some Missiles, they reached an agreement on a particular clause, they got up and shook hands and said that we have a deal and that 20 minutes later, this Col. General Omelechov who suddenly attached himself to all the negotiators and was following them around and came back with Gorbachev, and Gorbachev and Gorbachev came back and reversed himself. He could not even make an agreement. They could enforce him to reverse. Now that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. That this was duress; they had him by the throat. Now this is what I have been told but at the same time other people tell me, for example Arbatov yesterday said, I don’t believe that. He always acted as if he really believed this stuff. He never in any way indicated to me that his heart was not in it. Now, what I can’t get is how you can have it both ways. Either he was under duress or in fact he was a captive by some other forces, and was trying to wiggle out from under it, which he eventually did. He eventually got rid of these guys or he was not. And if he was under duress, how could he infact convince himself that he was freely and Voluntarily in an alliance with these people; that he really believed the right. He told people that I am moving to the right because the country has moved to the right.

KORNILOV: The people moved to the right , not the country.

SPENCER: The point is that I can’t fit these two things together.

KORNILOV: I can only just express my own view. I don’t know those stories. I was not present secondly when Gorbachev had spoken with Baker and.

SPENCER: This is in a book by Don Overdrofer.

KORNILOV: Okay, the business is that Gorbachev was pushed and pressed by those who surrounded him; by his very friends and his colleagues. I am absolutely sure that it is unbelievable that one day he is going to the left and the other day he is going to the right , he was absolutely pressed by his surrounders, by his old colleagues from the govt, from the party and his company. And the explanation why he was moved to the right, I was trying to give to you. First, these people who surrounded him, they were looking at his face because he was a Gen. Secretary, a kind of a sane person to them and they allowed him to do something in the Democracy using the new political thinking, uptill the limit it was not dangerous for them. When they felt that the continuation of those reforms will make them unnecessary for the country, for the president, for Russia, they started to press on Gorbachev and started to threaten him because they were quite powerful people; quite powerful in the Army; in security, and in the (192) Metatherian Industrial Complex. And I am quite sure they told him, okay man look you are just the High Commander of the Army, but this is only on the people. When just me, as Ministry of Defense will give the order to move, the troops will move. And it was proved, by this coup de tat in August of last year. I am quite sure that Gorbachev was manipulated by his own colleagues and even threatened by them. This is my full conviction. This is not the system of this country; at least the previous one was not very flexible.

SPENCER: Okay now, given that he was pushed this way and even threatened, should he have allowed himself to be intimidated, to go along with them? Not only that, did he convince himself even then, after they had got him by the throat, that he was going along with them voluntarily, because he convinced everybody around him. He convinced Arbatov, he convinced Godenski. He convinced everybody I talked to, that when he moved to the right he was doing this, somehow out of conviction that he was doing it voluntarily. And so I can’t look at it both ways. If they had him by the throat, when he got back from Crimea, why didn’t he say, look, this is what I have been trying to tell you guys all along that this would happen. They told me they would do this to me. I knew they would do this to me if I did not cave in. I caved in order to manipulate the situation, to try to rescue Perestroika. Why didn’t he say that? He never said that. Why didn’t he claim it. This was an excuse if he ever, I don’t if it would ever had been accepted as an excuse, but It would have made sense if things like why they, you know this thing in Vilnius. It would have made sense about why he looked like such a wimp and such a Right winger for the last year or most. It would have made sense for a lot of things if he had said,” alright I was under threat and I did not do any of these things voluntarily. I did it because I was trying to keep from losing the whole ballgame”. And he didn’t say it.

KORNILOV: But look, your question is quite valuable for the period before the coup d‘├ętat. This is a very valuable question for the period ending 1990 and up till the coup. And after the coup, he could have told everybody that he was convinced, that he was pressed. After the Crimea, he understood immediately what was happening. After the coup, when coming back to Moscow, when he was practically saved and brought here by Oscar and other supporters of Yeltsin, he realized straight away that this was the end of his political career. He could have said everything he liked, but the situation for all the people here was quite clear. When he came down from the plane coming from Foros, the full majority of Soviets or Russians, whatever you like, told themselves that this was the end of Gorbachev. And before when he was pressed and shaken, he could have said whatever he liked.

SPENCER: You don’t think it would have made any difference after he got back, to say that you thought I had done the thing in Vilnius, but infact. According to Ligatov, he was forced. But at the same time Ligatov does not support him. Ligatov says ya, he forced to make an alliance and it was a mistake. Now, how can you say both. Either, he was forced to make an alliance, because realistically, he had to be expected to be ousted otherwise, in which case I would assume that most people would rather that he made an alliance temporarily to keep him from being ousted so that he can stay to fight another day. I would have hoped that rather than him give up and go away and put some right winger in, who would never.

KORNILOV: He had no choice in my opinion. When he was pressed, I don’t know, by army, by security, by the Industrial complex, there was no other organized political force in the Russia which could support him. It was this lack of force in Russia or the S. Union.

There was Yelstin and just the Russian Parliament. Just around 300 people.

SPENCER: How come nobody supported him at that point. Why had the left abandoned him. Well several reasons.

KORNILOV: Because he is the son of his people. And he didn’t believe in the serious way that there would be a huge and massive support. He is the product of the party education and has seen that the only one with serious support was the army, security and which the military focuses on.

SPENCER: But I don’t understand. Why did you give up on him, why did Arbatov give up on him, why did Sacha give up on him? Why does everybody, Godensky, even Ligatov said he made amistake.

KORNILOV: Yeah, for sure.

SPENCER: I mean take seriously the idea that he knew as well as anybody that if he did this this and this, he would be ousted. Then he went ahead and did all that, and he got ousted. Now should somebody say that’s what he should have done.

KORNILOV: It was said you know by the people who had the possibility to say these things, that look Comrade Gorbachev, you are making a mistake. It is not possible to sit at the same time on two chairs. It was said to him by Yelstin, by people from the Russian Parliament and the answer to your question, why Godensky, why Arbatov, why Likhotal. Can you imagine this very fantastic company, Arbatov, Goldansky, Likhotal, and I don’t know who else, to come to Gorbachev and to say that Comrade Gorbachev, you are making a mistake. First of all, neither Gorbachev nor Goldansky could have an access to him, free one, to come together and to say. It was undoable, it was impossible.

SPENCER: Okay, okay. Suppose they didn’t go see him. But every one knows that he had made a mistake. Every body knew then he was making a mistake. Everybody could have told him if he had heard that he was making a mistake to move to the right. I certainly would not have wanted him to move to the right, but however he thinks that he would not have stayed in power if he had not. He says this. He tells Likhotal that, because Likhotal told me that. Even Likhotal said he made a mistake. Would Likhotal have then preferred that he didn’t move to the right and that he got thrown out, and another dictator came in. Is that what he wants? Is that what you want? Was it really a mistake? I don’t know. To my mind, its only a mistake if he is completely wrong in his assumption that he could not hold power without moving to the right.

KORNILOV: He came to the Right, I repeat once again because he had no other vision of any Organized Political Force that could support him. As for him going to the right, it was unregisterated and fixed in a lot of papers, in alot of magazines, in a lot of magazines, in a lot of political analysis published here in this country, in the most serious newspapers and political magazines and newspapers. The most serious and influential and democratic-minded people had tried to prevent Gorbachev by saying to him, please don’t do this. Please come to the left. Please support these democratically-minded people and they will support you. Be more courageous and if you continue the way of your past for the Democratic people, you will have the full support of the population. It was said that, I have all these collections of magazines and Newspapers. Very serious ones too.

SPENCER: Yeah, but suppose he tells, okay those people on the street may in their hearts support me but I know who has the Army, I know who is on these Committees, I know who I have to answer to, and they can get rid of me. And suppose he is right. Suppose they could get rid of him ; they showed that they damn near could. But suppose that they had actually got rid of him. Would you then say that he was right to stand up for the principles you and I believe in? Should he have allowed them to sack him, in order to make his point?

KORNILOV: First of all, you have to understand me correctly, when trying to assess all these things, I am not saying he was correct to go to the right. It was his mistake or position, which has to explained, once again by two things, even three if you like. First of all, he didn’t believe that his helpers and his first colleagues would play with him such a trick that and he recognized all of this afterwards. His idea was steel and lets say this is the stereo type of our higher leaders in this country. Even Khrushchev’s lesson did not teach him a lot. He was absolutely _____ patrioted that his colleagues like Yanaev, Yazov, Kryuchkov and Pavlov. They will never play such a dirty trick with him.

SPENCER: No, I would disagree with that on the basis of the fact that what Likhotal told me that he was forced to make a move to the right in order to stay in office. In other words he believed that they would throw him out of office. It wasn’t that he thought that they wouldn’t.

KORNILOV: I agree with that.

SPENCER: He believed it more than you seem to do. Because you seem to believe that he wouldn’t have been forced out of office, where as he believed that he would have been forced out of office.

KORNILOV: Yes, I agree that he was forced, but not untill such a limit when he will be kicked out. And when coming from Foros from Crimea, he said that “it was my biggest mistake that I have chosen such people. I thought they were my biggest ideological friends. I had full conviction that Yanaev is my man. I have just chosen him myself and it was my mistake”.

SPENCER: Yes, there I agree with you. He said things like that where that’s inconsistent with the proposition that he was forced. That they said you do this, this or this or your out. They told him that. Now, then how can you fit those two together?

KORNILOV: This I don’t know, this is a mystery.

SPENCER: Now that to me is the biggest mystery of all. How if they forced him and if he knew that he was being threatened, he knew he was going to be forced out of office if he didn’t and then how could he say that I made a mistake, that I picked all these people voluntarily. So many people think he did it voluntarily.

KORNILOV: This is the final puzzle to me. In any case, when knowing their habits and behaviour of the top leaders, I could imagine the falling. They could say to him that if you do not do what we suggest you do, you will be alone, you will be alone. You can see around how the people…

SPENCER: ( laughs) Now how am I going to get out of here.

The Russian Quest for Peace and Democracy, by Metta Spencer, published by Lexington Books