Sergey Stepashin

Sergey Stepashin

Photo: Ivan MAKEEV

On Friday, January 14, the President appointed Boris Gryzlov as Russian Ambassador to Belarus. Having learned about this, I called the long-term hero of Komsomolskaya Pravda Sergei Stepashin, who has been closely acquainted with Gryzlov for several decades …

…- Sergei Vadimovich, we somehow even crossed paths with him on a business trip. Traveled with you. It seems to be in Abkhazia.

Yes, it was in the south.

Indeed, I have known Boris Vyacheslavovich for a very long time. Moreover, he is my countryman. He was, let me remind you, the Minister of the Interior, a deputy of the State Duma. By the way, together with him – unexpectedly – we turned out to be deputies in 1999, now far away.

As for the assignment… It’s a very strong and interesting decision.

First, Gryzlov is indeed a competent, experienced politician. Known not only in our country, but also in Belarus.

I know that he has excellent relations with Belarusian parliamentarians, with President Alexander Lukashenko. Therefore, I believe that the appointment of a strong, powerful political figure to such a post means, first of all, that the integration processes should be accelerated.

– Tell me, but the president appointed Gryzlov, and Stepashin appreciates him so highly – is it because you are all St. Petersburg, or what?

– Well, no, why not? (laughs) It’s not that – St. Petersburg.

Well, by the way, Boris Vyacheslavovich and I at one time lived together in Vladivostok, on the Second River. (Vladivostok area. – A.G.) I told you about our joint barracks …

– Yes!

– So, if we take our conscientious biography, it will start from Vladivostok. And then – Leningrad, as they say.

– Gryzlov, like Stepashin, left the barracks?

Well, not like from the barracks. His father lived there. I know that he served in the naval aviation. And he lived in a nearby barracks. Which, like mine, was demolished a long time ago, by the way.

We, Sash, did not come out of the barracks, we came out of Leningrad.

– Well, you know, we have a habit of being a little bit sarcastic.

– Yes…

– At one time, Boris Gryzlov, when he was the speaker of the State Duma, said: “The Duma is not a place for discussion.” Did he regret it later?

– Well, yes, he explained that he did not mean it.

– And what?

– It was about the fact that if the Law is adopted, what is called, a decision is made, and then what to discuss?

It is necessary to discuss before the adoption of the Law. For me, this is obvious, as for a military man.

Yes, he then simply explained it. You know, everyone can have reservations in life. They stick for a long time.

I’m more impressed when he led the fight against werewolves in uniform. Not many people in the Ministry of Internal Affairs liked it. Yes, then he began serious work on the cleansing of personnel.

So, he also has a second slogan: “Fight with werewolves in uniform!”

– I see… Tell me, how is he in diplomacy? The man is still a soldier!

– No, he was the civilian minister of the interior. And – went through a big political school.

And the fact that such a person is appointed ambassador to Belarus is a signal. This is a serious signal, and I think Alexander Grigoryevich understands this. And, probably, he will receive the new ambassador with enthusiasm.

There is only one wish: to be calm in Belarus. So that the two fraternal peoples remain fraternal peoples.

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