Kirijenko: "I love money, professionally"

From: DER SPIEGEL, April 4, 1998

The Russian parliament, the Duma, resists the nomination of Sergei Kirijenko as Minister President - he is too "inexperienced." In saying this, the representatives are not bothered by where the novice has graduated a management course: with the Scientologists.

Talking was not his strong point, but at his departure from office of the Minister Presidency, Viktor Tschernomyrdin found the right words. "We wanted to make it better," apologized the man who ruled Russia for more than five years, with an honest view of the unhappy state business, "but things happened as they always had."

His nominated successor, Sergei Kirijenko, 35, Minister of Energy for the past four months, added: "The last administration talked a half year about the tendencies of the economy to improve," he performed a variation on the verdict of his chief, Boris Yeltsin, "although the bulk of the population detected nothing of the sort."

Communist chief Gennadiy Siuganov demanded that Yeltsin immediately withdraw the nomination of the cabinet member. Because, he said, the situation in the country is "not less dramatic" than it was during the coup of 1991, when tanks fired upon the Duma 1993 or "before the outbreak of war in Chechnia."

Indeed, super-father Yeltsin introduced the young vice premier, father of two daughters, as a sort of better office herald: He led him into the White House, the administrative sessions, opened doors and roused officials, until he reached the hallowed office of the administration chief.

With the words "Now this is all yours", he punched him in the shoulder. Boris' boy coughed "thanks, thanks" and took a seat in the leather chair, three sizes too big, in Tschernomyrdin's corner. Yeltsin warned him, "yes, don't remove his portrait until the year 2000. Kirijenko nodded, Yeltsin beamed. Just right, thought the presidential ambassador, that's the way he should nod to any further instructions.

Kirijenko then introduced himself to the factions of the Duma. The communists and their allies (almost 50 percent of the 450 Parliament seats) found the recruit "inexperienced and unacceptable." Grigorij Javlinksi, chief of the liberal "Jabloko" party, found the candidate as "polite, well-bred", and nothing more. Even the rural party "Our House Russia" (65 representatives), still enraged over the expelling of their patron Tschernomyrdin, stated that they were not ready to give their approval at "the push of a button."

The tactician Yeltsin invited the speaker of the Duma, Gennadij Selsnojov, to the Russian state dacha, where he normally receives only those of equal rank. He was enticed by the admission of the opposition into the new cabinet, and named the alternative: dissolution of Parliament - new elections. Dismissal of the representatives, loss of the proud assemblies, the residence in the capitol city, gone would be the offices equipped with fax and computers, as would their whole importance in general.

The stubborn opposition indicated they were ready to at least postpone the vote concerning the Premier. The risk seemed barely worth mentioning, Kirijenko himself had brushed it off as an "April fool's joke": a sect aspiring to world domination could blackmail him -- the Scientologists of the (deceased) American Ron Hubbard.

With footholds in a half hundred cities they seek to conquer Russia. Their interests focus mainly on the military-industrial complex, their "college" in Jekaterinburg has spread out into an optical armament factory, the one in Perm is in an engine factory which produces for the military. The Scientology Center in Moscow reports to each of the 100 visitors per day that 1,000 expensive, high-gloss Scientology publications are produced every week by each person.

Six years ago the US [religious] mission gave a copy of Hubbard's book, "Dianetics" to 69 Duma representatives, several of whom were held by the Western legation to be susceptible to heresy. From this time on, the Vice-President, Alexander Ruzkoi, enemy of Yeltsin, quoted Hubbard, who was also praised by the Secret Service Chief-to-be Sergei Stepaschin. At the time he was serving as Secretary of the Interior.

The Scientologists trick: they represent their teachings to the country children, who are greedy for any western import, as "management technology," which is to be learned in training courses. The young Kirijenko had participated in one such "continuing education seminar", a sort of brainwashing, in his hometown of Nischni Novgorod.

Here's how it came about: As did the other ex-functionaries of the [Communist] Party Youth Organization, "Komsomol," Kirijenko, prior Komsomol regional leader, also strove for a leading position after the demise of communism -- now as a manager in capitalism. The "utopian ideals" of communism were gone for good. Kirijenko understood that, and drew the conclusion from it, as he most recently expressed it, "I love money, and I admit that extremely professionally."

Old friends, who once had haggled over foreign clothes on the streets, now sold entire truckloads for dollars as far away as the duty-free shops of Hamburg. The gap between the shrinking state economy with its fixed, subsidized discount rates and the booming private commerce in the world market offered unheard of chances for profit, just for the transport from one area to another.

Kirijenko went for the highest rate of profit: he wanted to found a bank for this kind of business, which was the reason for a more intelligent strategy in securing mental competency. The trained shipbuilding engineer elected the renowned Academy for National Economy, led by Gorbachev's economic advisor, Abel Aganbegian. He arrived in Moscow right after the foiled coup, in 1991.

His graduate work, which he presented after two years work, amounted to his professional goal, the commerce bank: his assignment, he wrote, was to use "all possible ways and methods" for capital growth, and for that to unconditionally "gain influence on every plane of political power."

That is what he stuck to. Again in Nischni Novgorod, his friend Boris Nemzov, the governor, who now serves as his vice minister, let him establish the Bank Garantia, which supported local pension funds with oil sales.

To improve his professionalism, the bank director applied in 1995 for a management course given by the local "Hubbard College." "Hubbard," that sounded like "Harvard". The Roman letter "B" is written in Cyrilic as "W." [In German, "W" sounds like "V".]

This Scientology course was supposed to bring about a "constant increase of the realization of modern leadership theories," as the stockholders of the Garantia Bank could learn, quite officially, from the 1995 yearly report, which was forwarded to the SPIEGEL.

Kirijenko was impressed by the new, trusted ideals of the ex-communist youth, which Hubbard's commissioners preached: group consciousness and differentiating from the outside. On four weekends the entire lead management of the bank trained in the Scientology Center (at that time Ivan Romanov Street 2, fourth floor) in "Team Spirit and Responsibility Sharing on the Manager Level."

The costs were paid by the bank, which expended 200 million rubles (about $44,000) for all personal training. "The Hubbard College filled a culture vacuum," stated Viktor Kitajev, Kirijenko's successor as head of the bank, "there were no other alternatives."

The Hubbard School of Management did not put their spiritual applications of the religious Scientology sect in the limelight. As Kirijenko's father, former political economist, and philosophy professor at the University for Nischni Novgorod at the time, experienced from his son about the new course of instruction, he also knew nothing of the name of Hubbard.

He turned to his colleague, Dr. Jevgenij Volkov, psychology docent at the same university, and expert in unorthodox religions. "I talked with Sergei Kirijenko for twenty minutes," recalled Volkov, "and made him aware of the possible dangers of Scientology . He thanked me for it."

Four years ago any charlatan in Russia could count on finding many credulous customers for introductory courses in advancing a career in practical capitalism. At the time the dynamic city of Nischni Novgorod, which -- in the strongly enclosed communist gated areas -- was giddily testing its new-found freedoms. Most recently they elected the previously convicted Andrej Klimentjev as major. (He was arrested, the election annulled.)

A critical illumination of Scientology control technology, quite aside from the religion trick, has not taken place in Russia until today. Alexander Dvorkin, theology professor at Moscow University of Russian Orthodoxy, knows his way around. He gives us food for thought: "The decisive factor is whether Kirijenko has taken part in the usual auditing test." That is how intimate information is gathered through interrogation and self-analysis, sometimes under hypnosis.

That is how Russia's ruler could find his way into dependency. Scientologists have an advertisement video which the local TV station "Volga" broadcast six months ago. This made it known that one of the "graduates" of the Hubbard College of Nischni Novgorod is Michail Teodorowitsch, the budget director of the government.

The ecclesiastical sect specialist Dvorkin made an explanatory note about Kirijenko, "He has to become clear. As soon as possible."

A closer bond of the new Yeltsin favorite with the obscure Hubbard Association could easily cost the administration the sympathies of the Russian Orthodox Church. Distrustful, and cautious about their own privileges, they battle the advancement of any other avenue of belief, even if it is respected, such as the Baptists. With the struggle against foreign sects they can always hope for approval from the nationalistic electorate.

Yeltsin is attempting, in his search for a new national idea, to close the gaps left from the loss of state ideology, which Hubbard's agents are also trying to fill. However the totalitarian temptation is enticing, even if it appears in American costumes.

[This is] control technology from the USA, some methods of winning power in the campaign battle, assesses Yeltsin's daughter, Tatiana Borissovna, the officially designated "Imidschmejker" [image maker] for her father. Ex-Premier Jegor Gaidar follows American business trends; Ruzkoi [Russians] once derided "the little boys in the pink pants." Now they are in vogue. Gaidar, 42, outlined the economy program for Kirijenko.

Young people replace the sick man at the top. The squad is led by Yeltsin's Chief of Staff, Vaentin Jumashev, 40.

Yeltsin's ghost writer in the composition of his biography and court chronicler is comparable to a German chancellory chief. His influence is even greater, as the Russian president is closer to sole control than is the [German] Bundes Chancellor. Jumashev was the one suggested by Kirijenko to the rest of the cabinet and to the Duma.

His representative, Sergei Jastrschembski, 44, also public relations officer for the President, serves as management and administrative assistant in all emergencies. As Czar Boris categorized Germany and Japan as atomic powers in Stockholm last December, Jastrschembski put on the brakes, "The President is tired." The week before last, his employer thought a confidential discussion with state guests Chirac and Kohl was a press conference, until Jastrschembski whispered an explanation to him.

The freshman in the circle of the old caretakers - Kirijenko entered the Komsomol when General Secretary Leonid Brischnev had been in office for five years. Can Tschernormyrdin console himself by saying "doing it better"? "But things happened as they always had."

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