Russia » Politics
Author`s name Michael Simpson

“You should finish him off!” - 5 September, 2002

“He is now so much oppressed by Putin. Here in Russia, Luka (Alexander Lukashanko is meant) has the image of a clown and kind of an outcast. It is wonderful. However, you should finish him off. You shouldn’t get united with him. Why do you plan to get united with him, with this freak?”

Union of Rightist Forces leader Boris Nemtsov demands that it is necessary to find out who and how bugs and tapes telephone conversations of Duma deputies and then sells the tapes. At the same time, Boris Nemtsov wants to appeal to the General Office of Public Prosecutor in connection with Tuesday’s publication in Russia’s newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya (Soviet Russia).

The article begins with the words: “We publish a taped conversation, at the same time we are ready to publish a phonogram of any radio station, Echo Moskvy, Radio of Russia or Liberty Radio. The taped conversation is also abundant in obscene words which the intelligent Russian democrat (Boris Nemtsov is meant) mentioned when he spoke about the Kremlin officials.” 

The newspaper mentions at that, it has got the material from another source of the left opposition, a radical newspaper Zavtra.

According to Nemtsov himself, it was his private telephone conversation, a confidential one by the way, with one of the Belarussian opposition leaders, which he had being in his Duma office. The deputy admits at that, he had already spoken out everything he said in the conversation. The telephone conversation concerned policy of Belarussian president Alexander Lukashenko, the meeting between Russian and Belarussian presidents and future of the Russia-Belarus union. Boris Nemtsov cant’s imagine how the conversation was made public. In accordance with the RF Code of Criminal Procedure in  force, telephone conversations can be bugged only after a court decision (earlier, it was authorized by the prosecutor only).

Here is the preface to the taped conversation published by the Sovetskaya Rossiya:

“A rather undistinguished stranger with a handbag came to the Zavtra editorial office. He looked like a petty trader who often come to offices to offer perfume, tights and other smuggled goods for sale. The man opened his handbag where rows of tapes were put together like in a portable record collection. It was astonishing but not names of popular singers, but names of famous Russian deputies were written on the tapes. Raikov, Morozov, Zhirinovsky, Zyuganov, Khakamada, Yushenkov were there. Those were taped telephone conversations which contained confidential information. The trader was an electronic thief or just an agent of some thief who offered the “goods” in editorial offices of famous political newspapers. Journalists decided to listen to some of the tapes right at the editorial office. The conversations proved to be very piquant. However, the trader asked for a too high price, that is why we couldn’t buy the wonderful collection, that could be called “Voices of birds”. Not to be reputed as fences, we purchased only one tape with the inscription “Nemtsov” on it. That was a taped telephone conversation between Union of Rightist Forces leader Boris Nemtsov and, as we found out later, head of the United civil party of Belarus, Anatoly Lebedko. The information on the tape was really very important as it concerned a treaty on the Russia-Belarus  union, that is why we decided to make the conversation public. Russians, who lay great hopes on the Russia-Belarus union should know who puts spokes in its wheel.”

A complete version of Boris Nemtsov’s conversation was published on the Sovetsakaya Rossiya official site, Rednews.ru. Traditionally, revelations of this kind mean an end to the career of a politician. Probably, the Union of Rightist Forces is of a different opinion.

Pyotr Bely
PRAVDA.Ru