My Dearest (REDACTED)
Greetings to my favorite American golubaya bl'yad. I hope you are not so busy with your carrying on that you will not have the time to read this letter. I think it has been a long time in coming, unlike yourself, from what I hear.
I am sending this letter to you as a way of saying goodbye. This is, perhaps, not how you expected to receive such a farewell. But my doctors tell me that soon I will be, as you say, going downhill very !@#$ fast. I do not know how much longer I have in which to say these things, so it is very much now or for never.
What to say? You once told me that I was a terrible man but a great drunk. I think all there is truly to say is that you are no different, my friend. I know these things very well, because I was once as you were, only not so high in the command structure.
Is this surprising to you? It should not be. All the hints I gave you, in the last few years, should have made you curious. I know that when you are curious, you will leave no stone undisturbed to find the truth.
I know that you are a very busy man, my dear (REDACTED), and I know that your rivalries and enemies take up much of your time. So perhaps you did not do, as you say, due diligence upon this drunken wreck of a man whom you had the distinct displeasure of having to brief on a number of occasions.
You have said "SPYGOD sees all," but perhaps these things were not seen? Perhaps you had no idea that I once had the power of life and death over you? Perhaps you did not know that we were rivals, after a fashion, and missed each other only by minutes on at least one occasion?
If this surprises you, then I have one last laugh. If not, then permit an old man with brains that no longer work so well his reminisces. Everything else I will say and do from here on out will be closely monitored by my replacements, so it is very much now or never.
I was very young when the Great Patriotic War occurred. I could not have volunteered to fight against the fascists as so many in my village did, even if I had wanted to, or understood. Children are only so brave, my friend.
What I did understand was that my father had spoken up against things he did not like, and was sent to a gulag as punishment when I was only three. Three long years he was there, and when he came back something was missing in him.
I looked inside those eyes, a six year old boy seeing his father so old before his time, and I decided they would never take my fire away. Even if I had to be one of them to be against them, I would not be silent. So I was not silent, and was disciplined many times for being a headstrong young man who would rather be sent home with a red face than a quiet mouth.
The official story is that I went to school and became a construction engineer in 1955. It goes on to say that I then spent many years working in plumbing, until I became one of the nomenklatura in 1968. The rest is history, but this is bull!@#$.
The government took hold of me early, while I was still in school. At first they were concerned I would become a security risk because of my father, but then they decided it would be better to try and do something in cooperation with me. I was given a case officer and shown possibilities, some of which would astound even you.
For example, you know I lost some fingers taking apart a stolen grenade when I was in school? I did not sneak into the army base. I was on the army base in an official capacity, receiving specialized training. The person I was working with in that grenade exercise made a bad mistake and lost more than his fingers, so you see that I am a lucky man.
You also can see that I am a lucky man because I am here to write these words to you. We had a mole in your Camp Rogers, and he took very extensive notes on the methods by which you and your friends became Strategic Talents. But, like the Nazis and their Black Pill, there were risks, and we did not understand them as well as you did.
So yes, I am wondering if you are laughing or cursing right now! All along, this drunken fool of a President was a superman! No wonder I could stand in front of snipers during that coup and not be afraid! No wonder I did what I wanted and had no fear!
Oh, my favorite little huesos, fear and I are the oldest of friends. We drink together often, he and I. Tonight perhaps more than is good for both of us, and that is how this letter is being written.
From later school years until 1968 I was a man inside what you refer to as SQUASH. I was fighting the fascists and the capitalists and their strategic talents, both inside Mother Russia and outside of it. I did things that were wonderful and things that were terrible, and things that were very terrible indeed. You once said I would be shocked to know of your true count, and I say to you now that I know of your true count, as best as anyone can know, and that mine is much worse than yours.
You were almost among it, once. Do you remember the night of the Red Commissar, in 1967? It was one of my last major assignments. I was under orders that if he succeeded in defecting, and did so to you, I was to find you both and eliminate you. I had many incendiary devices aboard that train, my friend. You would not have survived the conflagration.
But this was not to be. The Red Commissar is now buried somewhere under the ice in St. Petersburg. You never met him because he was slow to the meeting, and you left sooner than we expected. Perhaps you suspected we were watching, yes?
I am sure you are wondering what I was doing when I was in a more public position? The answer is very simple, my friend. SQUASH needed a man inside the power structure, causing it to be shaken up from time to time. It is in this time that I began to do what I had always promised myself I would do, when I had power. I would take that fire and use it to burn the hands that sent my father to prison.
I will not bore you with details. Such things are for lesser men and librarians, who chronicle the doings of others. I will instead trust that, now that you know of the path, you can find your way to those pieces of the puzzle you know nothing of. I have cracked the doll in half for you, my friend. Please investigate the layers beneath as you will.
I will tell you this, though. You know there came a time when SQUASH and Mother Russia parted company. I am certain you also know that when the Soviet Union was no more, they were no longer welcome at our table, and that this separation was done quite violently but very quietly. I tell you that I am the one who scored both first and last blood.
Is this something to be proud of? I do not know if I can say yes, my friend. I look back at my time in politics, and in charge of things, and I see things that are good, but many more that are bad. I did not resign merely because of my health, but out of shame. I may have stolen the fire but I was clearly not the best man to wield it.
Now it transpires that SQUASH have still managed to have the last laugh upon poor Boris. All those years and all those secrets, and the one thing that I never knew was that they were the only ones who could keep my mind together!
The shots they gave us every four years were supposed to help us with our power levels, they said. They did not tell us they gave us a dangerous disease of the mind at the same time they gave us our powers. We did not know the treatments were also to ensure our loyalty, and keep us from going, as you say, too far off the reservation.
I know that you are aware that our few defectors died of a degenerative brain disease within ten years of their betrayal. It has been nine years since my last shot, and now I have the disease also, and I may only have a few years before my mind disintegrates into atoms. I have had surgeries to ease the pain, but there is no cure, only prevention.
It would seem the only reason I have lasted this long is because, once again, it seems I am a lucky man. Even the luckiest of men is not nearly as lucky as fate itself, though, and the skull faced suka is after me now. She has my scent and I cannot hold her back for much longer.
The man who will rule in my stead is a monster. I am certain that you know this. You must watch him carefully, my friend. He has no love for what little remains of SQUASH, but you may find him even more trouble as time goes on. I would be forever in your debt if, on the day you decide you must end him, you see to it he is told that I say hello from the grave.
Of course, you may not wish to do this. Perhaps the two of you will become fast friends, as we did not. But I will always remember the day we went about in your Washington D.C., lost my security detail, became horribly drunk, and attempted to purchase a pizza while wearing only our underwear. At this time we were not men who had once tried to kill one another, however blindly, but men who were bonding over something much less important, and yet containing all the importance of the world.
It grows late and I am tired. I want to be even more drunk than I am now but then I will not be able to write any longer. A trusted friend will take this to you, and hopefully you will not shoot him for his troubles, for he is a good man.
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin lasted much longer than this bleak prognosis would indicate. He died in 2007 of congestive heart failure after a retirement that was mostly quiet, but peppered with the sort of brash but heartfelt political statements that had come to define his life as the Russian Federation's first President.
Though he did suffer from neurological damage for the rest of his life, he was able to pass it off as public drunkenness for much of that time. Whether he was merely tough or lucky, or had some advanced medical help with his condition, is unknown.
Whether he and SPYGOD had any contact after this letter was written is also unknown.
Yeltsin's handpicked successor, Vladimir Putin, is a monster. The levels of his involvement with SQUASH, before or after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, is unknown.
(Yeltsin's favorite piece that SPYGOD knew of was Korsakov's Sheherazade When they got blasted on Vodka in 1995 it was Stolichnaya.)