Politics and Literature


The General Trusts the President but Still Is Going to Check on How He Will Keep His Promises


The Turning-Point – such is the title of Nikolai Tarakanov’s book which has come off the printing press in a circulation which may be described as infinitesimal (1,000 copies), although it is very important for an adequate understanding of Russia as it is today. Its author was an accredited representative, or proxy, of Vladimir Putin when the latter was running for presidency during the latest election campaign, the fascinating story of which is told by the writer. The most important thing, how­ever, is the fact that the book has seen the light of day, rather than its circulation in terms of a number of copies. After that, as is usually the case, the truth underlying it should force its way to impressive circulations and the mass readership. The writer, who has his own, personal world view and position in life, has not contrived to enlist generous sponsors, although he has always been in the thick of crucial state events and in sight of the persons responsible for them.

Nikolai Tarakanov is a Major-General, Dr. Sc. (Tech.), academician, member of the Writers’ Union of Russia or, putting it into plain words, a Russian general who praises most such human values and accomplishments as honour and human dignity. His motto and life’s credo is “I will help people and do good as long as I breathe.” The Fate has twice thrown the gen­eral into the crucible of severe trials – elimination of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster and the earthquake in the north of Armenia. But he has held out against the odds of life, unbroken even by radiation sick­ness.

As he himself says, he became a writer in the hospital in 1990. This is his eighth book, preceded by sin­cere writings devoted to the most dramatic pages from the modem history of our country. One of them, The Notes of a Russian General, earned Nikolai Tarakanov “The Best Pens of Russia” prize.

The protagonist of the book, as the writer said at its official pre­sentation, is the electorate, with whom he had 75 meetings which became “a second Chernobyl” for the presidential candidate’s proxy.

This story is based on docu­mentary material and is illustrated with interesting photographs. The author presents unbiased pen-por­traits of many present-day politi­cians and provides the answer to the question: why did the people of Russia opt for Putin?

It is quite possible that the title of the book will provoke the feel­ing of apathy in readers or put them on their guard. People in Russia have got tired of accelerations, perestroikas, drastic and crucial decisions, turning-points, etc. However, the author holds that the title of the book conveys its content most accurately. “I am confident,” he told journalists, “that Putin’s coming signifies a turning-point for the better in Russia.”

The writer informed us that he had actually started” writing another book which he would like to have been published by the new presidential elections. In his new effort Nikolai Tarakanov is going to analyze how Vladimir Putin will have kept the promises he gave to his electorate.


Alexander BUTSENIN.