NTV authorities did not allow to air a material about Elena Tregubova's book "Tales of the Kremlin Digger", planned to be featured in Leonid Parfenov's "Namedni". The channel directors prohibited mentioning this book in air completely.
According to the words of Tregubova herself (she sites Parfenov in turn), a material, which included an interview with Tregubova, Mikhail Margelov and Aleksey Volin (the book heroes) was made. An atmosphere of one of the key scenes of the book was created in the studio: a lunch in a Japanese restaurant, where Tregubova was invited by then FSB chief Putin. Overall length of the material was 3.5 minutes.
"The feature was announced many times, many people saw those announces. Besides, this "Namedni" was already on air in some regions of the country. After that, as Parfenov says, he received a call from the NTV chief Senkevitch, who prohibited the feature altogether." She also adds: "Leonid said he would he spilled a soda bottle over the tape, but clearly states it was management's prohibition, which is censorship in fact"
NTV chief Nikolay Senkevitch in his turn, said that the feature will not appear on air because of respect to the viewers. "NTV is not a place for rudeness and platitude. The channel and highly respected program of Leonid Parfenov are too refined and too well-thought to fall into such a platitude." Senkevitch denied and political reasons behind the prohibition, and said it was purely his decision, without any pressure from "the top".
Elena Tregubova: "Tales of the Kremlin Digger" (an excerpt from the book)
…a secret of Putin's election campaign is that it was only our journalistic fantasy what gave us material to write about. The client had run out of his toilet aphorisms soon. And apart from this, fantasy of the main candidate was limited to the various vehicles he must have dreamed to ride from the childhood: "Su" jet fighter, "Volga", "Kamaz", a tractor. Ideas of his PR-team stopped on that in every region Putin had to kiss a baby and pose by a working assembly.
Those assemblies! We witnessed how the one at GAZ nearly killed the female workers awaiting the high guest. The thing was that the assembly line did not work before Putin's visit indeed, and it was planned to be turnt on only for the time of his visit. A worker who had to do it dreamed before the time that a People's Candidate is on his way, and with all her power she pulled the lever, only to nearly assemble her colleagues who peacefully sat between the cars on the line.
At KamAZ journalists experienced a deja-vu: the same not working assembly line, the same worker by the lever awaiting Putin. But this time they tried to "assemble" not the workers, but international TV journalists: Putin's security who treated international journalists like the country’s enemies, tried to block and then hit a poor operator to stop him filming the frozen assembly. It might be funny, but he was saved only the fragile "Kremlin pooled" girls who warned the security that they will write about this in reports should they not stop.
With kids, it did not work well for the head of the state from the start. Stories spread through "Kremlin pool" mouth to mouth about anecdotes into which turnt tries of Putin to caress the kids. In a Petrozavodsk hospital, instead of pitying a broken-legged boy hit by a car, Putin told him: "Well, now you won't break the rules no more!" No surprise that after this a little girl whom Putin tried to kiss, didn't let him, saying with tears: "I'm afraid of you!"
Putin's press-service prohibited writing about those episodes, threatening to deprive of accreditation immediately.
However, his campaign did not have to be good at all. What he had to do was appearing every day in the TV news and bombard the masses with one single idea: "I, Putin, already reign. And it doesn't matter will you vote for me or not"
Even though Putin's visits during the election campaign were boringly similar, in every town some sort of memorable event happened. But those interesting events were prohibited to talk about in reports, so I can't miss an opportunity to tell about a few of them now.
Irkutsk: "I wanted love, but you did not"
At one of the meetings with local intelligentsia, candidate Putin proclaimed that sex is another form of perversion. What happened was: answering a question about Putin's attitude to state censorship, he claimed that "society has to reject all connected to sex, violence and other perversions itself"
In the evening my colleague from "News Time" newspaper, Tanya Malkina called: "Look, Lena, it's better not to quote those Putin's words about sex. He would look like an idiot otherwise"
I asked her why she cared so much, or, joked I, we worked in his press-service? She replied quietly: "You see, Volodya Rahmanin (then the head the president's protocol, E.T.) asked not to write about that". I said he didn't ask me anyway.
In a minute after she hang up, Rahmanin called himself: "Lena, pardon for disturbing you, Tanya Malkina advised me to tell all journalists not to quote those words of Vladimir Vladimirovitch… about sex… because it's not good: he didn't mean that, you see…"
Volgograd: "It will not hurt, promise…"
In a Volgograd military hospital, which Putin had to visit, journalists received the white medical dresses and were put to the prepared positions. In this mockery clothes I accidentally stepped in amputates' room, who were just brought from Chechnya. Despite of my horror, I thought it would be cowardice to go out and shut the door. Especially because those young guys looked at me with a hope: guest. I felt what they need most now is my smile and talk. So I came and talked with everyone, and smiled. Trying with all my strength not to see the missing parts of body and scarred faces.
A nineteen years old Aleksey from Nizhniy Novgorod told me that he had only spent three months in Chechnya after he came to the army: an explosion torn his arm and nearly got the eye. "I dreamt to become a long-distance trucker, like my father. To travel around the country, see different cities. And now, you see, something else had to be…" I asked him whether he had a girlfriend in Nizhniy. "Yes, and I told her all the truth already. She says she doesn't care, she wants to be together…"
The door opens, enters Putin. I sit down to the boy's bed and hear a horrible conversation between the commander-in-chief and the boy who was crippled at the war he, Putin, started. At first, generalissimos walked, shook the hands, presented watches and a small TV set. Then it was Aleksey's turn, but he had nothing to wear watches on and almost nothing to watch TV with. Putin calmly asked him:
- Does your eye see?
- And that scar, it's okay. Surgeons now can do so that it will be just like before!, gladly told Putin.
Then Putin escaped quickly, as the picture was not so good for the cameras.
When he was saying goodbyes, Aleksey quietly whispered: "Can't believe it… Putin… Real Putin…"
All the time I had sat by Aleksey, I thought that I tried by all means not to cry. But at this moment I realized that tears were flowing all over my face. What I wanted the most is to stand up and slap Putin in the face for his calm face, for his mentoring voice when he talked with a boy who was injured at the war which he, Putin, who has not fought himself, started to win the elections. And also for Putin's propaganda at all TV channels, which washed people's brains so well that this boy, who stayed alive by luck, is glad to see the real Putin.
P.S.: Elena Tregubova does not decline a possibility of going to court against Nikolay Senkevitch. "Soon me and my publisher will discuss a possibility of filing case against such words of Senkevitch", says Tregubova.
In her opinion, "such statements about the platitude of the feature on my book, Senkevitch offended Leonid Parfenov", famous to the viewers for "being demonstratively and deliberately refined". "It's a clear offence to Parfenov, and he had to take Senkevitch to court", counts Elena Tregubova.