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Vitaly Korotich, former editor-in-chief of Ogonyok: Valentin Yumashev was for Yeltsin, I was for Gorbachev. But we are still friends

Vitaly Korotich

Vitaly Korotich

A photo: Alexander GAMOV

On air Radio “Komsomolskaya Pravda” (97.2 FM) the hero of the day was congratulated by his old colleague.

… – Hello! Vitaly Alekseevich, today is the birthday, 65 years old, of Valentin Yumashev, a journalist for our Komsomolskaya Pravda and your Ogonyok.

– Oh, Valya, I have to call now.

– … there are no former journalists. Before you write and call, tell us, on the air of Radio Komsomolskaya Pravda – what do you really think about Valentin Borisovich?

– You know, I think that in addition to being a talented journalist, he has a remarkable quality that not everyone, even talented journalists, possesses.

Yumashev is a very loyal person. If he is devoted to a cause, if he is devoted to some person, he never changes.

Valya is not a opportunist, he is very faithful to the chosen path, and you can rely on him.

I am absolutely firmly convinced that it will be bad for me, good, he will treat me exactly, and I will treat him in exactly the same way.

– Then let’s, in support of our words, some episodes, please remember from his biography “Ogonkovskoy”. Associated, perhaps, with Boris Yeltsin or Mikhail Gorbachev.

– You know what it is…

He always possessed both absolutely precise and confident, or something, affection.

It turned out that there was a time when I was more inclined, as a human being, to Mikhail Sergeevich, and Valentin became friends (he made friends in a human way) with Boris Nikolaevich and helped him write his memoirs.

And then a situation arose in which suddenly Gorbachev said to me, they say: this, that, this, that, we should generally smear Yeltsin, put him in his place.

And I didn’t want to do that.

And then – Yumashev: “And I already have Yeltsin’s memoirs, I should probably print them.” And there were a lot of such, not very favorable thoughts about Gorbachev.

– And how did you do it?

– At first I thought and thought, but both Gorbachev and Yumashev were equally dear to me.

And then I talked with the guys, invited, so that there were no unnecessary conversations, an audit team that checked all the funds, all the affairs in Ogonyok … And I agreed that I would leave and hand over Ogonyok to Yumashev and the second pupil of Komsomolskaya Pravda – Gushchin.

I left them instead. And I was sure that they would be worthy, they would not humiliate me, Ogonyok would not humiliate me.

Yumashev and Gushchin prepared a whole thank you issue dedicated to me.

And, regardless of the fact that we sometimes loved different people, were supportive of different thoughts, we have remained faithful to each other until now.

– I just didn’t understand, did you publish Yeltsin’s memoirs that Yumashev worked on?

– I have published, but not all.

– And why did you leave?

– You know, I realized that I don’t want to maneuver between Yeltsin and Gorbachev. Respectfully treated one and the other.

Gorbachev asked me to attack Yeltsin, and memories came from Yeltsin that were not very favorable to Gorbachev, and I had to remain favorable only to one of them … But I didn’t want to, I respected one, respected the other. Meanwhile, I was completely inundated with offers from universities from all over the world to come, I was recently announced as the best editor in the world, etc. And I signed a one-year contract with Boston University.

And then something began that I could not foresee – an attempt at a coup d’état, the State Emergency Committee, everything in the world.

And then another story went on, other adventures …

One way or another, then we called Yumashev again and suddenly realized that we were still faithful to each other and understand each other very well.

– Now you call Yumashev, if it’s not a secret – what will you tell him?

– I want him to be healthy. This is something that is subject to some changes and does not depend on us. And in all other respects it is unchanged. And may God grant him to remain as firm and faithful as he has been until now. And – so that he would live for a long, long time and be an example of how the journalists of Komsomolskaya Pravda are examples of not only professional skills, but also decency.

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