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To preserve security, a contract was drawn between the International Industrial Bancorp Inc. of San Francisco (a company Braynin managed for its Moscow parent) and Dresner-Wickers (Dresner's consulting firm in Bedford Hills, New York). The Americans would work for four months, beginning March 1. They would be paid $250,000 plus all expenses and have an unlimited budget for polling, focus groups and other research. A week later, they were working full time, but the boss was not Soskovets.
Over the past few months, the Russian and Western press have identified six different people as Yeltsin's campaign manager. In fact, the person really in charge was Yeltsin's daughter Tatiana Dyachenko, 36, a computer engineer with no previous political experience. While those in the campaign's upper reaches have always known that Dyachenko was the key cog in the apparatus--if only because she alone saw the man she routinely calls "Papa" on a daily basis--her role has been widely misunderstood. After dodging the media for months, Dyachenko last week described her job to the Russian press: "I'm kind of involved in everything. I'm everywhere--everywhere there's a weak link."
The history of "Tatiana's emergence is really quite simple," explains Valentin Yumachev, Yeltsin's close friend and ghostwriter. "The President decided in February that the campaign Soskovets was running was going nowhere. He needed someone he could trust completely, and she was it." None of Yeltsin's other senior campaign officials was "what you would call pleased with Tatiana's placement," adds Pavel Borodin, Yeltsin's Minister of the Presidency, the government's general-services manager. "But because she had no personal agenda they couldn't plot against her. Her power obviously derived from that, but also from her native intelligence and the knowledge she gained from the Americans, who brought us a professionalism and dispassion none of us was really used to."
The American team hired two young men, Braynin's son Alan and Steven Moore, a public relations specialist from Washington, to assist them, and promptly established its office in a two-room suite at the President Hotel. The Americans lived elsewhere in the hotel and were provided with a car, a former KGB agent as a driver, and two bodyguards. They were told they should assume that their phones and rooms were bugged, that they should leave the hotel only infrequently, and that they should avoid the campaign's other staff members.
The Americans managed to hide their identity for many months. In interviewing various polling and focus-group companies before hiring three, they described themselves as representing Americans eager to sell thin-screen televisions in Russia. "That story held for far longer than it ever should have," says Shumate. The Americans carried multiple-entry visas identifying them as working for the "Administration of the President of the Russian Federation," a bit of obviousness that constantly threatened to undermine all the supposed secrecy surrounding their real work.