"We should have arrested the president"
Military coup: unknown details of the Rokhlin conspiracy
20 July 1998, Boris Yeltsin should have been arrested - the power in the country would be transferred to the military. Two weeks before this, the organizer of the conspiracy of General Lev Rokhlin was found murdered in his own summer cottage. After 13 years after the failed coup, “RR” talked with the participants and witnesses of the conspiracy and re-created the picture of the proposed change of power.
- I did not particularly conspire, to be honest. I thought everything was in favor. And who could be against it? In the Kremlin regiment, a pancake, right through the Spasskaya Tower with two suitcases full of valves, Persia, barely closed - in-from such suitcases! - The retired Colonel Nikolai Batalov jumps up from his chair, spreads his arms apart, and you know: the bags were really huge, and there really were a lot of closures in them. But the Kremlin regiment needed them because they had no locks, not combat rifles.
Now Batalov works as a director for general issues at one of the chemical plants of the Volgograd region. At that time, he was first deputy commander of the 8 Army Corps, and then headed the regional branch of the Army Support Movement. And he was allowed to almost all the details of the plan to seize power. He can talk about it completely freely, because there is no criminal case on those events, there is no official conspiracy. And what exactly he carried in his suitcases through the Spasskaya Tower is no longer interesting for any investigator.
“And now, I have these suitcase shutters, and another friend has a lot of cartridges,” continues Batalov. - Gone, left. We were getting ready ... And we turned out to be suck-ups! We were no conspirators. On this, and burned.
- By the time Rokhlin and his closest associates were installed total surveillance and listening - this is beyond any doubt. That is, everyone knew what he was preparing ... - the former airborne forces commander General Vladislav Achalov told “RR”, an interview with which we recorded just a few weeks before his unexpected death.
Lev Rokhlin really was preparing a military coup. This was perhaps the only post-Soviet history a precedent for what could be called a "real military conspiracy." And if we take it broader, then for the whole of Russian history after the Decembrist uprising. After all, in the past two centuries since all revolutions, coups, mutinies, if the army played a role, then it was a statist role.
Lieutenant-General and State Duma deputy Lev Rokhlin, who at one time refused to be the Hero of Russia for the “civil war in Chechnya”, developed such stormy opposition activities in 1997 – 1998, which frightened both the Kremlin and other oppositionists. "We will sweep away these Rokhlins!" - Boris Yeltsin threw in the hearts, and the Communist Party deputies contributed to the dismissal of the rebel from the post of head of the parliamentary defense committee.
The military general who stormed Grozny in the first Chechen campaign got into the State Duma, according to the lists of the semi-official movement Our Home is Russia. But he quickly dispersed with a weak party of power in his views (the head of the NDR Chernomyrdin Rokhlin in the circle of his comrades-in-arms called nothing else a “spider”), left the faction and created the Movement in Support of the Army, Defense Industry and Military Science (DPA).
The organizing committee of the movement includes former Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, former Commander of the Airborne Forces Vladislav Achalov, former KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov and a number of equally noteworthy retirees with noticeable influence and connections among the security forces.
Then there were trips around the regions, a personal plane, obligingly provided by one of the leaders of the military-industrial complex, meetings with governors, halls filled to capacity in major cities and the most distant military garrisons.
“I was on several business trips with Rokhlin — in Kazan and other places,” General Achalov recalled, “heard the speeches, saw how they perceive him. He expressed himself extremely harshly. To hear that today from a federal deputy is unthinkable. And then all of them were scared - not only the Kremlin, but also the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the Liberal Democratic Party ...
“There were moments that we gathered in a very narrow circle at his dacha, there were literally five or six of us,” Achalov continued. - Of course, initially there were no plans for an armed seizure of power, an armed uprising. But then the life situation pushed this. Because the leapfrog in the state gained momentum, it grew simply catastrophically fast. You remember 1998 year? Since spring, the boy Kiriyenko was the prime minister, and in August there was a default. So imagine what would have happened if Rokhlin had not been killed in July. The option of attracting the army was not at all excluded.
He did not tell about any additional details. Dropping, however, that Rokhlin "could rely on the Volgograd 8 Corps in any questions." Rokhlin commanded this corps from 1993 onwards. With him, he passed the "first Chechen". And even when he became a deputy, he paid absolutely special attention to him: he regularly met with officers, personally supervised matters of re-equipment and equipment of the corps, turning it into one of the most combat-ready units.
“About two years after Rokhlin’s death, I talked to the officers of this Volgograd corps, they told me something, and, based on these stories, there could really be something,” says the head of the Union of Officers, Stanislav Terekhov, At one time, he was part of Rokhlin’s entourage.
Coup plan: army
- Details, means, you want, - the colonel Batalov thoughtfully looks at me.
Early morning, we sit in the bar of the Volgograd hotel. I am pressing on the fact that almost a decade and a half years have passed, all the statutes of limitations have come out, and much can be said openly. Finally, the colonel agrees:
- Good. How was this event planned? They wanted a power seizure of power. Power! Here even the conversation was not about some kind of "protest events." This is so frivolous. Here, in the center of Volgograd, on the Square of Fallen Fighters and on the Renaissance Square, it was planned to withdraw the forces of the corps.
- Just like the Decembrists at the Senate? - I clarify.
- Right. But Yeltsin here did not have the forces that were in St. Petersburg with Nicholas I, who had shot the rebels with a canister. In addition to the hull there were no forces at all. Well, the team of internal troops in Kalach. Another convoy battalion. And there would be no one to stop us if we really went out.
- What's next?
“After the corps’s action, there is an alert for other army units.” We would be supported in various places. I don't know the whole scheme. Say for what I know. Here is the Kremlin regiment, the regiment of the guard, it was in half: part of the command for Rokhlin, part - for the president. This regiment could not prevent us, even if we came directly to the Kremlin. The main reserve command post of the armed forces was simply bought - they gave money to anyone, good grandmas, and he says: “Everything, at this time, the guards will be removed. I will leave, and here you have a connection with the whole world. ” And so with the country - there is nothing to say, with all the army structures. We have two transport aircraft, for example, in the Pacific Fleet, there were marines, two battalions, we lived for two or three days at the aerodrome.
- What for? To fly to Moscow?
- Yes! And the same on the Black Sea Fleet. In Sevastopol, a brigade of marines stood ready. Naturally, the Ryazan Higher School Airborne. Cadets internship canceled. They were somewhere on the landfills, but by a certain moment they were returned to Ryazan. Because Ryazan is two hundred kilometers from Moscow. The school was one hundred percent for us. And the agreement was with the leadership of the Taman and Kantemirov divisions, that they at least do not oppose us.
Coup plan: citizen
“It was a good system project that meets all the requirements of what science calls“ system engineering of projects, ”said Rokhlin’s former adviser Pyotr Khomyakov who brings the scientific basis to the failed coup. - There are classic works on this. The same Jenkins. The core of the project in this case is the force actions of the army. And the medium of implementation is mass protests, informational actions, local political support, economic support. And even external support. Based on this, we analyzed the flow of goods in the capital. And the presence of powerful, active strike committees in the settlements along these routes. It was planned that on the eve of the army’s performance, the strikers allegedly spontaneously cut off the routes along which some goods were delivered to Moscow, the absence of which would cause social tensions. For example, cigarettes. The lack of a smoke would have heated up the situation in Moscow, there would have been an increase in negative moods.
- How did you know all these routes?
- Yes, from the Moscow City Hall! Luzhkov was a direct participant in the project Rokhlin. By the way, on the day of the assassination of the general on 11 in the morning, Rokhlin and Luzhkov were scheduled to meet to clarify some details. Moscow media on team Luzhkov would be accused of a tobacco crisis, the Kremlin.
In the team of Rokhlin, Khomyakov was responsible for developing mechanisms for the socio-economic support of army actions. At the same time was a political observer of the RIA "News”, And also a doctor of technical sciences, a professor at the Institute of Systems Analysis of the Russian Academy of Sciences. RR found him in Georgia: in 2006, he joined the Russian dwarf ultranationalist organization Northern Brotherhood, and after the head of the Brotherhood, Anton Mukhachev, was arrested, fled to Ukraine, where he asked for political asylum, and from there to Georgia.
In parallel with the creation of a product shortage, mass demonstrations were planned.
- Everything was painted. Who from which region is responsible for what after arriving in Moscow? Bridges, train stations, telegraphs. It is easy to paralyze the work of the apparatus, - says Nikolai Batalov. - Ten people came and turned off the substation - that's all, there is no connection. And the rest is the same. They came, they announced on TV: "Yeltsin was overthrown, sent into retirement - this is his renunciation." And what? He is a soldering iron in the well ... - he would have definitely signed a renunciation. And the State Emergency Committee - morons, forgive the expression, who were shaking and did not know what they want. We clearly knew what we want and what to do. Thousands of fifteen to twenty people in one day in Moscow would come only from Volgograd. This would be enough to paralyze the activities of all power institutions. Personally, I had to bring a half thousand. I have already been scheduled: who trains, who buses.
- Where did this money come from?
- Rokhlin gave. One day he says: "At 24, thousands of dollars are for expenses associated with the nomination of the people." Although many helped from the heart. For example, the head of the railway depot, when I came to him to ask for help - to ferry people to Moscow, - says: “We'll pick up a couple of cars to the passenger train, stuff people there.” Buses were refrigerated with food. The director of one of the factories told me: “Here is a connected refrigerator, completely packed with canned meat. This is all from my factory, all purchased. The second refrigerator - the food is different to you. " And, for example, the mayor of Volzhsky said: "Dame forty buses." Well, forty did not work - about fifteen buses he had to give. Yevgeny Ishchenko was at one time the mayor, then he was put under a far-fetched pretext. I met him in 1998, I say: "We need a little help - people change clothes the same way." He bought for his money, I do not know, thousands of five sets of uniforms. I traveled by car - I have eight, Lada - reconnaissance of the route was carried out: where to stand, where to refuel. On the way, I watched where gas stations and tank farms were. I even prepared special receipts - that when we take power, we will return the money - as much as diesel fuel was poured ...
Where did financial support from Lev Rokhlin come from? Apparently, it is really from close to him enterprises of the military-industrial complex, which then suffered from the collapse of the state defense order.
“Rokhlin had a very clear program of support for the production business, in the development of which I and my colleagues from the Institute of System Analysis of the Russian Academy of Sciences took part — I actively consulted with them,” says Peter Khomyakov. - So businessmen-production workers supported the general and helped him in every possible way secretly. So, most of the strikes of that period were organized by themselves, of course, without advertising it, and coordinated with the general the time and place of these strikes. On the May holidays 1998, a series of speeches under the flags of the Army Support Movement took place. It was also the sounding of the army environment — how the officers of different units, as the command of these units, support the measures. Everything has been verified. As a result, the march of army units to Moscow would be politically triumphant. And each nominated regiment near Moscow would have turned into a division with the support of columns of literally hundreds of thousands of strikers.
External support was to come from the West. Of course, not from NATO, but from Alexander Lukashenko.
“I did not participate in the organization of this event, but I know from other team members that there was a secret meeting between General Rokhlin and Lukashenko in the forest on the border with Belarus,” Khomyakov says. - You know, it is interesting: when Lukashenko gave a press conference in RIA “Novosti” and walked into the hall, Rokhlin stood in the aisle, letting Alexander Grigorievich pass. They did not greet. But exchanged such meaningful views! It was clear only for themselves and for those who were in the subject and stood nearby. Then, when some stubborn journalists said they greeted, the general smiled and answered: “What are you ?! But we do not know each other. We were two meters apart and did not say a word to each other. ”
The first attempt to speak was scheduled for the twenties of June. Lev Rokhlin then once again arrived in Volgograd.
“After the bathhouse, we discussed this whole affair, in the morning the commanders departed, and at four in the morning everything buzzed here: we were blocked by a team of internal troops. That, from Kalach, - Nikolay Batalov remembers. - I rush to Lev Yakovlevich, saying: “So and so, what to do? We covered. " But they did not know where the command post was. KP is already out in the field, twenty cars, communications and everything else. Rokhlin says: “Give everything back to the original. And I'm going to Moscow. Nothing happens - they will tie everyone up. ” The event had to be postponed. He didn’t live for two weeks ... I was at the eight - I landed Lev Yakovlevich and drove to Moscow, right up to the State Duma. He managed to attend the meeting and said there: “I don’t know anything, they say.” While I was alive, we were covered. And then they called me to the FSB. But by that time I left the post of deputy commander of the corps and only headed the DPA department. And the officers were frightened. Someone was immediately fired, someone was transferred. I was allowed to listen to our entire conversation in this bath.
- Did they write you?
- Yes. All of them, in general, knew. That's when Rokhlin in the steam room directly with someone talking - they did not have these records. We went there one by one. Hot - equipment, apparently, did not work. And in the hall they all heard ...
After the incident, the illustrious corps was disbanded. Just as defiantly as his officers intended to threaten the capital. In the Museum of the Battle of Stalingrad, we could not find the banner of the corps, originally exhibited there. It turned out that he had been asked to go to Moscow, to the Central Museum of the Armed Forces, and was handed over to the znamenny archive. So that nothing in Volgograd would remind of the corps.
- I Kazantsev (Victor Kazantsev, at that time commander of the North Caucasian military district. - “RR”) then personally said: “Putchist, you will not serve me, go to Transbaikalia,” recalls the former 8 communications director Corps Victor Nikiforov.
He is one of those who were suspected of involvement in the preparation of the rebellion. Although Nikiforov himself denies this now.
“Somehow Lev Yakovlevich flew here, they arranged, as usual, officers' gatherings,” he says. - We drank. I have not been there, unfortunately. And then the hotheads began: “Why are there Moscow, we will crush it, the people will rise!” Fighting mood after Chechnya. And there was there a careless statement by Rokhlin that "the divisions are all with us, and the aircraft will support." People just sat at the table in the kitchen, drinking. And the guys from the KGB-FSB listened to them. And Rokhlin then dropped: "Nikiforov has everything, he has warehouses, equipment." And I have a really good zonal equipment, workshop, warehouse. Not to take Moscow, but to defend their homeland. I was not at that meeting! And all the same, they were dragged into the FSB, and a year later they were dragged out of the army. Only because Rokhlin said my name one time.
Victor Nikiforov's words can be interpreted in different ways. You can find that he still participated in the conspiracy, but even now, after 13 years, he is afraid to admit it. And you can believe him, and then it turns out that General Rokhlin did not fully understand whose support he had and who did not, and became a hostage to his own inner circle, who assured him that the army supported his actions unconditionally. In any case, the conspirators' chances are no longer so obvious.
- Unfortunately, Rokhlin himself was substituted - as an inexperienced politician. Let's be straightforward, somewhat straightforward, ”recalls Stanislav Terekhov, the leader of the Union of Officers. - I am also straightforward, but I feel, where there is a traitor, I feel it in my head. Rokhlin either felt or did not, but there were too many strangers around him.
After the failure of the first coup attempt, the second, decisive speech was scheduled for July 20. And on July 3, Lev Rokhlin was shot.
Russian Rescue Committee
Did the conspirators have a real plan of action in case of victory? Yes and no. But the first organizational steps they imagined.
- From the point of view of political realities, a certain transitional period was assumed. Military revolutionary dictatorship! - extremely frank Peter Khomyakov. - But Lev Yakovlevich absolutely did not want to delay this period. Planned the immediate convening of the Constituent Assembly. And then full competitive elections. There was no doubt, and no, that he and his team would absolutely win these elections.
“There should have been five people in the transitional government,” says Nikolai Batalov. - I am a military man, and for me it is superdemocratic. But who these five - I do not know.
- Well, did Rokhlin have to be among them?
- No, no, one hundred percent! He did not want to be in supreme power. Neither the dictator nor the ruler. By no one. He is a tool, performs a task — he overthrows Yeltsin and his clique.
And five people are in power - the Committee of Salvation of Russia. Everyone is equal. There is no chair. In the regions, through the structures of the ADP, institutions are created “looking for power”. The executive branch, the legislative branch, the army, the militia, and everything else are locked in them. Here, for example, I had to be so “looking” in the Volgograd region. Immediately the lieutenant general would get: his own power! Would have wanted - the colonel-general himself hung. So there was something to fight for. But this is me, figuratively.
If you believe Batalov, the conspirators were concerned even with such a seemingly secondary issue, such as preventing anarchy and chaos after the coup:
- We even thought, as if there were no unrest - how can we prevent this from happening. You never know what? You have somewhere crushed something, and the crowd will smash further. Who needs it? We didn't want this.
Shot at plot
3 July 1998, Rokhlin was killed at his own summer cottage in the village of Klokovo, Moscow Region. The prosecutor's office claimed that his wife, Tamara, shot the sleeping general from an award pistol. The reason is a family quarrel.
The supporters of the general are sure: this is the Kremlin’s revenge and an attempt to prevent military actions. Vladislav Achalov directly calls the murder "political", says that after the death of Rokhlin in the forest, they found "burned corpses" - this is how "the liquidators or those who participated in this operation were eliminated." Peter Khomyakov testifies to the same thing:
- The security was bribed. Three murderers hid in the attic. They killed the general and left the cottage. Then they themselves were eliminated immediately in the forest plantation located in 800 meters. The bodies were doused with gasoline and set on fire. There was an 29-degree heat in the street. Then, quite seriously, they said that the corpses had been lying there for two weeks. Version for idiots!
Colonel Batalov - he was at the dacha on the eve of the murder and returned there in the morning after him - is more restrained and confident that “Tamara Pavlovna, most likely, killed him,” but at the same time it is stipulated that “she is not a murderer, just a murder weapon. She spent three months in the hospital zombie. They could inject something, process it, so she shot her husband. ”
In the end, the Rokhlina case was lowered on the brakes. In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights granted the complaint of the General’s widow for a lengthy trial, noting that the length of the trial, which is more than six years, constitutes a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights regarding the “right to a fair process within a reasonable time” . After that, the Naro-Fominsky court sentenced Rokhlin to four years in prison, but read the detention in that period. Rokhlin was free and did not dispute the verdict. Thus, a status quo that was convenient for everyone and still remaining today was fixed. Militiamen no longer pursue the widow of the general, but they are not looking for other killers either.
“The main thing for me is that Tamara Pavlovna is free,” Rohlin’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, explains to RR. - Everything else is not so important now ...
The investigation into the failed coup also did not end there. No charges were brought against anyone. Everything was limited to cleaning up the officers' ranks and disbanding the 8 of the army corps.
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