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October 26, 1992: “Conversation of Putin and V.V. with representatives of US Department of State headed by Mrs. Elizabeth Cheney. The conversation will be devoted to the creation of the Russian-American Foundation assistance to businesses.” “St. Petersburg External Relations Committee informational bulletins for 1992, Nos. 1-16

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Excerpt from: “PUTIN’S VISITORS: BRIBES, LOLLIPOPS, AND A BIG ‘MEH’ FROM LIZ CHENEY Records detailing Vladimir Putin’s time as a controversial St. Petersburg committee head in the 1990s are sparse. RFE/RL digs into a handful that reporters were able to obtain — and reveals the stories behind their scant contents” By Mark Krutov, Sergei Dobrynin, Andrei Soshnikov, and Carl Schreck June 8, 2022 https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-cheney-lollipops/31889262.htmlST. PETERSBURG — In a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of St. Petersburg there is a nondescript beige-and-brown building that looks a bit like a neighborhood health clinic. It is the state archive building, where thousands of documents from the city administration are stored — minutes of meetings, official orders, staffing records, interagency correspondence, and the like. But there is one remarkable gap in the archive’s catalog. There are no documents about the work of the city’s External Affairs Committee (KVS) from the period in the early 1990s when it was headed by a former KGB operative named Vladimir Putin.

Around four dozen records related to Putin’s tenure there have been preserved thanks to Marina Salye, a city lawmaker who alleged corruption in deals he signed off on.

But here at the state archive, the only way to learn anything about the work of this important committee is by looking through its official monthly bulletins — not all of which are preserved — or a couple of its annual reports. If any documents signed by Putin or his now-famous subordinates Igor Sechin, Dmitry Medvedev, and Aleksei Miller still exist, they are held in some other archive.

This report is the fourth installment of an investigative project examining the scandals and scams that swirled around Vladimir Putin and his associates during his tenure as a St. Petersburg city official in the 1990s.

But even the officially available documents give intriguing glimpses into the daily working life of Putin’s team in the Soviet Union’s final months and the first couple years after its collapse. Current Time and RFE/RL’s Russian Service have scanned the available monthly bulletins and the committee’s annual reports for 1991, 1992, and 1993, and are publishing them for the first time. All the documents gathered for this investigation into Putin’s first steps in politics and government can be seen here.

Under the heading of Meetings Of The Week in the committee’s monthly bulletins, some interesting topics crop up. Many of the meetings are talks with potential foreign investors, as might be expected. But there are some more captivating entries that tie the committee to entire stories, including some featuring the remarkable corruption of St. Petersburg officials that foreign partners often complained about.

There’s also a record of a long-forgotten meeting between Putin and a twenty-something U.S. aid official who is now one of the most prominent members of the U.S. Congress: Liz Cheney….

According to a small notice in the KVS bulletin, Putin met in October 1992 with a delegation from the U.S. State Department. The agenda for the meeting included discussion of the creation of foundation for the support of Russian business. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), an organization that Putin’s government barred from Russia 20 years later, participated in the project.

The bulletin reports that the U.S. delegation was headed by Elizabeth Cheney, then a 26-year-old USAID employee and the daughter of then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, who would go on to serve two terms as President George W. Bush’s vice president. Liz Cheney later became a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives who has been vilified by many in her party for her criticism of President Donald Trump.

Cheney’s representatives told RFE/RL that her talks in Russia at that time — which were held in several Russian cities — were to discuss humanitarian-aid programs…

Cheney told RFE/RL in an e-mailed statement what she remembered about her 1992 meetings in Russia:

“Vladimir Putin left no impression at all,” she said. Instead, she recalled the colorful governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, Boris Nemtsov, “who dedicated his life to fighting for freedom.”

After Putin became president, Nemtsov was one of his most outspoken and popular critics. He was assassinated near the Kremlin in February 2015…Copyright (c)2022 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036. https://www.rferl.org/a/putin-cheney-lollipops/31889262.html

Liz Cheney’s father, Dick Cheney, was VP to US President Bush (Jr.), after having been US Secretary of Defense under the younger Bush’s father (Sr.). Here’s Bush and Putin:

The US had already given the 2022 equivalent of over $200 Billion of military equipment and food aid to the USSR during WWII, starting prior to US Entrance into WWII – almost none was paid back. It would have been better to flush money down the toilet than to give to Russia. As someone recently pointed out, the US should have b*mbed the Kremlin rather than Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Ironically, the United Russia political party that has championed these rights rollbacks has been a beneficiary of USAID funding training sessions, according reports by ABC News. “Representatives of the United Russia party and their affiliates regularly participate,” confirmed Cathy Gest, a spokeswoman for the National Democratic Institute which conducted the sessions for USAID, in an email to ABC last week…

USAID has spent about $2.6 billion in Russia since its inception in 1992, and this year’s budget was about $50 million, with $29 million of that directed toward projects promoting democracy and civil society and $18 million targeted toward people, mostly in health programs, US officials have reported….” See: “USAID expulsion from Russia shows framework of long-planned Putin initiatives: The US Agency for International Development (USAID) ceased operations in Russia yesterday after being expelled last month in a move widely seen as part of the Kremlin’s effort to intimidate and discredit opposition.” October 2, 2012 by Charles Digges https://bellona.org/news/russian-human-rights-issues/russian-ngo-law/2012-10-usaid-expulsion-from-russia-shows-framework-of-long-planned-putin-initiatives