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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Former Kremlin Aide Points Pen at Berezovsky

In a new book, President Boris Yeltsin's fired chief bodyguard accuses billionaire businessman and Kremlin rival Boris Berezovsky of talking about having political and business enemies murdered and charges Berezovsky with currying favor with Yeltsin's daughter by giving her cars.


Alexander Korzhakov's book, "Boris Yeltsin: From Dawn to Dusk," is to be unveiled at a news conference Tuesday. Excerpts from the book, published Friday in the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, cast Berezovsky and other influential figures, including Tatyana Dyachenko, Yeltsin's daughter, in an unflattering light.


But the excerpts dished little real dirt on Yeltsin, whom Korzhakov has claimed tried to commit suicide while in office. None of Korzhakov's claims could immediately be verified.


At the behest of Dyachenko and adviser Anatoly Chubais, Yeltsin dumped Korzhakov and turned to Berezovsky and a group of influential bankers for help during his 1996 re-election campaign. Once one of the most influential people in Russia, Korzhakov now holds a much less powerful post as a deputy in the State Duma, or lower house of parliament.


Friday's excerpt, printed across two pages, is loaded with backroom scenes and conversations that allegedly went on in the president's inner circle.


In particular, Korzhakov lashes out at Berezovsky, claiming he talked about killing banker and media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky, singer Iosif Kobzon and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov in order to prevent Luzhkov from running for president.


According to the excerpt, Berezovsky had a personal vendetta against Gusinsky, who he viewed as a financial competitor. Berezovsky tried to convince Yeltsin that Gusinsky was not to be trusted. When Berezovsky realized he could no longer use Korzhakov to influence the president, he turned to Yeltsin's younger daughter, Tatyana Dyachenko, buying her a Niva, then a Chevrolet, and warned her about "bloodthirsty killers" like Korzhakov.


He also shifts blame to Yeltsin for a strange incident in December 1994 in which presidential security troops under Korzhakov's command roughed up Gusinsky's bodyguards.


Six people were injured and two were taken to the hospital in the incident, including the head of the Gusinsky's security team, who suffered near-fatal kidney damage from being beaten by the presidential security officers.


In Korzhakov's version, Yeltsin had become fed up with Gusinsky and ordered Korzhakov and Mikhail Barsukov, head of the Kremlin guard, to "deal with him." When Korzhakov asked on what legal grounds, Yeltsin responded, according to the book: "It doesn't matter, engage in something, follow him everywhere, do not give him a way out. Create for him such an atmosphere so that the earth burns under his feet."


The incident led to protests from Gusinsky and the Association of Russian Banks. The deputy head of the Federal Counterintelligence Service, Yevgeny Savostyanov, was fired by Yeltsin the same day over the incident.


"The incident wasn't so much directed against Gusinsky as Luzhkov. This was an attempt to scare him from running for president, and it worked. Luzhkov didn't run for president," said Andrei Piontkovsky, an analyst with the Moscow Center for Strategic Studies.


Korzhakov portrays himself as the loyal eyes and ears of the president, and he also flaunts his considerable influence over Yeltsin.


In another incident, after Gusinsky's return to Moscow, Yeltsin held a meeting with bankers in the Kremlin. Korzhakov describes how Gusinsky was supposed to sit next to the president to show the world that they were on good terms again. But Korzhakov writes that he had Gusinsky's seat moved to a corner where no television cameras could reach.