Korzhakov, Aleksandr

(1950– )
   As an officer of the KGB’s Ninth (Leadership Protection) Directorate, Korzhakov was assigned to protect Boris Yeltsin. As Yeltsin’s personal bodyguard, Korzhakov played a critical role in the 1991 August putsch, encouraging the Russian leader to leave his dacha outside Moscow to go the Russian White House, the parliament building, and rally his supporters.
   Korzhakov played a critical role two years later, when communist parliamentarians tried a putsch. Korzhakov encouraged Yeltsin to resist pressure from communists in the Duma interested in overthrowing the infant Russian republic. Once again, Korzhakov saved Yeltsin from disgrace or death. Korzhakov was rewarded for his loyalty and courage by promotion to the head of a new independent guard service, the PSB (Prezidentskaya sluzhba bezopasnosti, or Presidential Security Service). Under Korzhakov, the PSB grew into a paramilitary service with a large military component. According to the Russian media, Korzhakov became a modern Lavrenty Beria with power over the security establishment. As Yeltsin’s grey eminence, Korzhakov had tremendous power inside the president’s official “family.” With his ally, FSB chief Mikhail Bursakov, he dominated the president, setting political policies in both foreign and domestic areas. In July 1996 Yeltsin purged Korzhakov and his allies in the inner circle. Korzhakov got even by writing a “tell-all” book about Yeltsin, and he has since been elected to the Russian Duma. Korzhakov’s rapid raise and even more rapid fall illustrated both Yeltsin’s unscrupulous use of the security services and the unbridled way that the Russian president controlled his administration and Russia. The disintegration of the Soviet Union did not, as Korzhakov’s career illustrated, mean the rule of law for Russia or her security institutions.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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