A man has passed away - an era has passed away. This formula is both hackneyed and rarely corresponds to the scale of the individual. But as for Aman Tuleyev, you probably can’t say it any other way. The era really ended with his death. The era of people's governors.
By the way, Tuleyev bore the title of “people’s governor” quite officially: it was awarded by the relevant law of the Kemerovo region of December 27, 2011. “This Law was adopted on the basis of appeals from residents of the Kemerovo region, labor collectives, and public organizations in order to recognize the merits of the Governor of the Kemerovo region Aman-Gelda Moldagazyevich Tuleyev to the Kemerovo region,” states the preamble of this document.
Although, in principle, the very fact of such an award “at the request of the workers” suggests that by that time the passion in the relationship between the governor and the people began to fade: true people's love does not need official formalization. But the fact that it existed, this love, is beyond any doubt.
If this love had not existed, Aman Tuleyev would not have received 94.54 percent of the votes in the first gubernatorial elections in his political biography, held on October 19, 19997. Yes, today such a result would impress few people: some regional heads show even better results.
But then, let us remember, it was a different era: not all of the current technologies of “managed democracy” were known at that time, and even fewer of them were in use. It was a real, not falsified triumph. In the dashing 1990s, Tuleyev, without exaggeration, was a people's idol. First of all, of course, in Kuzbass. But not only in Kuzbass.
This is evidenced by Tuleyev’s three-time participation in the presidential race. The most successful elections for him were the very first elections, in 1991, in which he took fourth place: 5 million 420 thousand Russian voters (6.81 percent) voted for him. Five years later, in 1996, Tuleyev tried again. True, I didn’t reach the finish line. And, as he admitted later, he had no intention of getting there at all.
According to him, there was initially an agreement between him and Gennady Zyuganov: they are campaigning in parallel, setting out a common program, and at the end, just before the elections, Tuleyev withdraws his candidacy, throwing votes to Zyuganov. Well, that is, he calls on his voters to vote for the leader of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. That's how it all happened.
“I fulfilled my part of the agreement, and he, in my opinion, won,” Tuleyev later lamented. “But the votes had not yet been counted, and he drove off to Sochi. I asked him why he did this if there was an agreement between us. "I did not receive an intelligible answer. After that, I realized that they do not need power. They are afraid of it. Because in our country at that time, in this devastation, he simply would not have pulled it off. This is a huge personal responsibility."
Tuleyev was not afraid of responsibility. And he was even less afraid of accusations of renegade from his former comrades. On August 22, 1996, that is, less than two months after the elections, Tuleyev (at that time - Chairman of the Legislative Assembly of the Kemerovo Region) was appointed by Boris Yeltsin as Minister for Cooperation with Member States of the Commonwealth of Independent States.
And in July 1997, he was appointed to the post of head of the administration of the Kemerovo region. From which I went to the gubernatorial elections. Well, by that time he had de facto ceased to be an oppositionist. However, he was not completely at home with the authorities either. Governor Tuleyev’s relations with the Kremlin were quite complicated at that time.
The degree of complexity is indicated by the following fact of his biography: in 1999, Boris Yeltsin awarded Tuleyev the Order of Honor - “for his great personal contribution to the socio-economic development of the region.” However, the Kuzbass governor said that he could not “accept awards from the government, which plunged the country into poverty.”
Which speaks not only of Tuleyev’s strength of character, but also of his foresight: the governor clearly felt that “the government that plunged the country into poverty” was living out its last months.
A little over a year later, with a clear conscience, he accepted the same order from the hands of Vladimir Putin, explaining that “the country lives in a different dimension,” that “the head of state is pursuing a policy aimed at strengthening his power, restoring the country’s economic potential, strengthening state power and social protection of the population."
Since the arrival of Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, the governor and the supreme power have lived, as they say, in perfect harmony. Relations between them were not overshadowed even by Tuleyev’s participation in the 2000 presidential elections. Tuleyev, in his words, went to them “just to show off the region,” and during the campaign he insisted everywhere “that of all of us, Putin is the president.”
For an ambitious federal politician, this behavior probably looks a bit strange. But Aman Tuleyev had not only ambitions, but also an excellent sense of timing. Throughout his political career, he always kept pace with the times. And he was never afraid to take responsibility. And in general he was not one of the timid ones.
The “Stirlitz rule”, alas, also applies to the biography of politicians: the latest significant events are remembered. Tuleyev left the governor's post not on a bravura note - after the tragedy in the Winter Cherry shopping center. But to limit ourselves to these memories means not only to change the well-known rule concerning the dead, but also to sin against justice.
We can and should also remember that in 1991, Aman Tuleyev, then still a people’s deputy of the RSFSR, entered into negotiations with a terrorist and helped free a girl hostage from a bus he had seized near Red Square, offering himself in exchange for her. One can recall many other facts of his rich biography. There were different things in it, but the fact that he was not a nomenklatura, not a parquet, but a people's politician is an indisputable fact.