He was active and prominent in the changeover from KGB to SVR in 1991, chose the right side during Kryuchkov’s abortive 1992 KGB coup against Gorbachev, and in 1999 was noticed by the phlegmatic First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, a blond scorpion with languid blue eyes.
…he personally suggested that Putin blame Western—specifically US—interference for the demonstrations leading up to the elections. The candidate loved the suggestion, eyes unblinking, as he contemplated Russia’s comeback on the world stage
Today’s Kremlin was suits and ties, press secretaries, smiling summit meetings, but anyone who had been around for any length of time knew that nothing had changed since Stalin, really. Friendship? Loyalty? Patronage? A misstep, an operational or diplomatic failure, or, worst of all, embarrassing the president, would bring the burya, the tempest, from which there would be no shelter.