Document ID: CEP20020311000029
Entry Date: 03/11/2002
Version Number: 01

Region: Central Eurasia

Sub-Region: Russia

Country: Russia


Source-Date: 03/10/2002

Russia: Military TV show profiles Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov

CEP20020311000029 Moscow RenTV in Russian 1015 GMT 10 Mar 02

[FBIS Translated Text]   Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov rose to the high echelons of power through his work at the St Petersburg branch of the Unity political movement. He was then elected to the State Duma and was one of the people who established the work of the pro-Kremlin faction in parliament. His appointment as interior minister was made not on professional but on purely political grounds. Following is the text of report by Russian Ren TV on 10 March, with subheadings inserted editorially:

  [Presenter] Today, as we have promised, we shall offer you a profile of the Russian interior minister, Mr Gryzlov. All that is secret, one day will be revealed.
  [Correspondent] Who a year ago would have thought that the leader of the pro-government Unity faction [in the State Duma], Boris Gryzlov, would become the country's chief policeman? The engineer, trade union activist, head of an external trade company has always been rather far from police work.
  Some people think that he was just lucky. He was at school together with the current director of the FSB, Nikolay Patrushev. Later he got to know [deputy head of the presidential administration] Dmitriy Kozak, who is now an influential politician. However, back then those people were nothing more than ordinary officials in the city of Leningrad. But later on it was they who helped Gryzlov to climb the political Olympus. And Gryzlov managed to make a name for himself in political circles. He was not a particularly zealous public figure, but he often was present at various unofficial gatherings. Such an active social life would seem unlikely given his serious looks, but appearances can be deceptive.
  [Aleksey Mukhin, captioned as head of the centre of political information] Despite his respectable looks and polished manners, Boris Vyacheslavovich is full of passions inside. One of the indications of the above is that Boris Vyacheslavovich is a very reckless driver. He loves cars and he is a very reckless driver. For a time, it was a matter of special pride to him that he was the only member of the State Duma to own a humpbacked Zaporozhets [the oldest make of car produced at the AvtoZAZ plant]. If we want to be accurate as to detail, we need to say that he has already sold it. He sold it in 1998 through a power of attorney. Since then he has bought a Nissan, a car capable of building up a very high speed. When Boris Vyacheslavovich admits that he cannot let anybody else be the first to start off after a red traffic light, it shows him to be an adventurous person, despite the impression produced by his serious and respectable looks.

  Putin's man in the Duma

  [Correspondent] For the better part of his professional life, Gryzlov worked at classified defence industry enterprises. He worked on developing space systems. As head of the St Petersburg branch of the Unity political movement, Gryzlov revealed his skills as an election campaign organizer and a driving force. In December 1999, he was elected to the State Duma from the Unity federal list of candidates. He then was appointed head of the pro-government Unity faction in the Duma which was a great leap forward for him. And Gryzlov turned out to be up to the president's expectations and built the parliamentary faction he was in charge of in such a way as to meet presidential needs.
  [Aleksey Mukhin] Within Unity, Boris Gryzlov was dealing with tasks which he thought he was very good at. He was developing the party and its structures. He was developing the party's ideology - this is what it looked like from the outside, from a formal point of view. On the other hand, he, as a spin doctor, was dealing with the Kremlin's problems in the State Duma, that is he pushed for the necessary resolutions to be adopted by the parliament; was arranging favourable publicity for pro-Kremlin decisions; was rallying together Duma members and - as our data suggest - he was working in close contact with [deputy head of the presidential administration] Vladislav Surkov who was giving orders and Boris Gryzlov was carrying them out. However, it would be impossible to say that everything passed without a single hitch and without any conflicts.
  [Correspondent] As head of the parliamentary faction, Gryzlov was probably the only person who knew what the pro-Kremlin party was set up for. He became a sort of a symbol of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's Duma. Closely following instructions from the Kremlin, members of his faction could be trusted to cast a unanimous vote the right way, while those who were not happy with this arrangement were banished from the faction by Gryzlov himself. Such was the case with Vladimir Ryzhkov after he voiced his opposition to Unity's political line.
  On the whole, there were quite a few conflicts and arguments inside the Unity faction. Nevertheless, it was none other but Gryzlov who managed to ensure the adoption of laws necessary for the president which enabled the latter to strengthen the vertical of power. Gryzlov's constant interaction with the Kremlin was interpreted by the media as an indication of a puppeteering quality of this relationship. However, it is possible that this was exactly the thing that brought Gryzlov to the top echelons of power.

  Politician among policemen

  [Yuriy Ovchinnikov, captioned as advisor on social and political issues] As far as I understand the task now it is to create such an Interior Ministry that in two years' time when Mr Gryzlov leaves it - and I don't think he will be needed there in two years' time after he has fulfilled all the tasks that he has set for himself: building the vertical of power, eliminating the overlap of functions, etc - he will not be needed and all the necessary mechanisms will by then be in place. And he will achieve all that through traditional means, without any revolutionary ideas.
  [Correspondent] Which he has already started doing. Gryzlov needed three months in his new capacity [of Russian Interior Minister] to become familiar with the complicated organizational structure and to overhaul the ministry's central apparatus. He has replaced most deputy ministers and heads of all main directorates. Practically all new appointees were drawn from the St Petersburg lobby and Gryzlov approved the personnel make-up of the ministry and assumed responsibility for the actions of these people. Let Gryzlov be an outsider, inept at a professional policemen's skills, but his deputies are now people approved by the president and drawn from [KGB headquarters] Lubyanka cadres.
  [Aleksey Mukhin] This political appointment was made in order to move the focus of the Interior Ministry from its complete subordination to Vladimir Rushaylo, who was appointed Security Council Secretary, to subordination to Vladimir Putin. Boris Vyacheslavovich Gryzlov, who did not belong to the Interior Ministry, who is not a policeman and who in fact is a deeply civilian person despite his having been born to an officer's family, was facing a political task. All the professional aspects of his job were taken on by Vladimir Vasilyev, one of Vladimir Rushaylo's key rivals. Thus Gryzlov held the title but the real interior minister was Vladimir Vasilyev.
  [Correspondent] Gryzlov's appointment as interior minister came as a complete surprise to everybody. Gryzlov himself said that he had learnt of the appointment from the papers. He was not prepared for such a turn of events. It seems that Gryzlov has no ambition to become a professional policeman. It is more likely that after he has fulfilled his task here, he will be moved to another task. It is quite possible that his next appointment could be to the position of the Secretary of the Security Council. However, in this case it would again be a political appointment.
  [Video shows various archive footage.]