Ousted Senator Narusova laments the way Putin changed

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Evgeniya Chaykovskaya – November 9, 2012)

Former Senator Lyudmila Narusova, widow of President Vladimir Putin’s political mentor, Anatoly Sobchak, and mother of opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak, has given an extensive interview to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

Narusova was kicked out of the Federation Council last month after having voiced criticisms of the recent crackdowns on opposition protesters.

Narusova talked in the interview of how Putin is a good person, surrounded by bad ones.

Putin, who started his political career as an adviser to Anatoly Sobchak, who went on to become elected as mayor of St. Petersburg in 1991, has been accused by human rights movements in Russia and the West of tightening the screws on the opposition movement and Kremlin critics.

Suggestions to eliminate election fraud are not needed

Narusova said her suggestion on fighting absentee-ballot election fraud was ignored in the Federation Council. She suggested using two ballot boxes ­ one for voters registered in the area, another one for absentee ballots. The number of the latter would not be allowed to exceed those absentee permissions issued and publicly announced a day before. Her microphone was then switched off.

“Because it is a reasonable suggestion that excludes machinations. And who needs it?”

Putin changed ­ Narusova

She said Putin had a good sense of humor. “At least he used to have it.”

However, Narusova believed that her leaving the Federation Council was likely agreed in the Kremlin, even though her husband gave Putin his first job in politics.

“This shattered some illusions that I still had regarding Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin], who I know as an absolutely honest, decent and loyal man. But regarding his entourage, I feel squeamish towards those who surround him. He surrounded himself by United Russia’s leadership, where people are of very low moral standards. And can’t they understand, the petty, fussy, greedy ones, that once a liar, always a liar? They lie to each other, to him, but he keeps relying on them.”

When asked how the metamorphoses with Putin happened, Narusova said: “I would like to know that myself.”

“Unfortunately, the fact that these metamorphoses are happening is clear and impossible not to notice. Why are they happening? Maybe, because there is a certain ossification in authority. Do you know Anatoly Sobchak’s last words to Putin when he went to Kaliningrad to campaign for him? ‘Volodya, do not become ossified’.” Anatoly Sobchak died from a heart attack while on the trip to Kaliningrad.

Narusova will remain in politics

After leaving the Federation Council, Narusova does not plan to finish her political career. While she said she does not go to rallies “on principle,” she will join a party.

“I sympathize with [former Finance Minister Alexei] Kudrin’s Civil Initiatives committee. I am taking a closer look at [billionaire-turned-politician Mikhail] Prokhorov, but I do not really believe in Prokhorov’s independence, to be honest.”