Paulovsky was, de facto, the number two in the Kremlin in the final years of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency. Only after Vladimir Putin took power in 2000 did his ratings begin to decline. Nevertheless, Paulovsky knew all of Yeltsin’s secrets well, so his words should be treated at least as completely credible.
It was Yeltsin who was collecting a list of potential successors in his head, and our proposals played no role – as Paulovsky claims today. In 1997, according to Pawłowski’s stories, Yeltsin saw his successor Boris Nemtsov, a liberal who would later lead the anti-Putin opposition and He was killed near the Kremlin nearly six years ago.
– We promoted Nemtsov very sharply and in the summer of 1997 his ratings were already higher than those of Gennady Ziuganow – Pawłowski continues. Zyuganov was then and remains the leader of the Communist Party. Today his position is weaker (although the Communist Party is an important faction in the Russian Duma), but in the 1990s, Zyuganov was a vital candidate in the fight for the Kremlin.
But over the next year, the oligarchy linked to the Kremlin and fighting for its influence in Yeltsin’s entourage began attacking Nemtsov. – Within a year, they destroyed it in the media they controlled – says Pawłowski.
Yeltsin’s next presidential candidate was the former director of foreign intelligence Evgeny Primakov. His way to the top is well known, but it turns out that Primakov was too arrogant and too independent of Yeltsin, which made him lose the president’s support and the opportunity to have a schedule after them. According to Pavovsky, then Putin was Yeltsin’s number three candidate.