once, Khrushchev and the visiting Finnish President had a picnic in the woods near the official residence for a long time. It was getting late. I thought he drank a little too much, so I came forward and gently advised him to go back to the official residence. He immediately began to scold me. Although there were no women around, after all, the president of Finland was present.

like ordinary people, there are some trivial things in the daily life of national leaders. They also have to eat, dress, see a doctor and chat. Just because of their different status, these trivial matters are no longer irrelevant. Their food, clothing, gestures, health and safety should be taken care of by security personnel at all times. Alexei salinikov, a former KGB lieutenant colonel in the ninth Bureau, is in charge of this. He worked in the national security department for more than 40 years and spent time with the successive top leaders of the country during Khrushchev’s arrival in Yeltsin. Now let’s invite him to tell us some little-known “trivial things” (hereinafter in the first person) in the lives of successive leaders.

Khrushchev: wearing rubber soled shoes

the ninth Bureau of the KGB is responsible for the security work of the top leaders. As an officer of the Bureau, I was transferred to Khrushchev in 1956 until he stepped down in October 1964. My duty is to create comfortable and convenient conditions for the general secretary’s work and life and solve all problems related to this in daily life.

Khrushchev’s dress has always been a headache. His body shape is not standard, which is a severe test for the tailors. And he also likes to wear loose pants, which look baggy.

at that time, there was a special clothing room opposite the “Ukraine” Hotel, where successive first ladies and senior officials and dignitaries came. Khrushchev, Brezhnev and other supreme leaders did not go there, but the tailor went to the Kremlin to measure and set the cloth for the leaders. After making a good appearance, take it to Kegong to try, and then take it back to change it.

there was a shoe shop near the Lubyanka subway station, which was famous for making shoes for Khrushchev and kosikin. The leather shoes made in this shop are strong and light. Khrushchev likes leather shoes with sponge rubber soles best. I’m afraid few people know this material now.

once, Khrushchev and the visiting Finnish President had a picnic in the woods near the official residence for a long time. It was getting late. I thought he drank a little too much, so I came forward and gently advised him to go back to the official residence. He immediately began to scold me. Although there were no women around, after all, the president of Finland was present. I listened with patience, but the goal was achieved. He and his guests walked to the official residence. It is not easy to say “no” to the supreme leader.

one more thing I might as well tell you: Khrushchev’s wife Nina Petrovna often mends his socks. Therefore, Khrushchev was frugal in his daily life and paid no attention to it.

kosikin: borrow a suspender belt from the guard

long after Khrushchev stepped down, I was reappointed and transferred to kosikin (Chairman of the Soviet Council of ministers – this newspaper’s note). Kosikin trusted me very much. When he went out for inspection or visit, I was the only one who could open his personal suitcase. Kosikin doesn’t like a group of people busy around him. He is used to leaving everything to someone he trusts most.

in the national leaders, small things are also big things, because they represent the country. On a visit to Cuba, we were waiting for Castro at cosikin’s stay. At this time, cosikin hurried in and said to me, “what can I do? Castro is coming to Rome, but I soiled my pants.” I said, “I’ll take care of it!” He took off his light trousers and gave them to me. I use washing powder and mineral water to wash away the oil stain, and then use an iron to dry it quickly. He put on his trousers and said happily to his daughter Lyudmila, “is our aliosha great?” Lyudmila nodded and said, “that’s right. He takes good care of me, too. He ironed all my coats for me.”

when visiting with leaders, you have to bring a lot of things in case of need. On one visit to Afghanistan, kosikin had to wear a black suit to meet the king of Afghanistan. But the prepared pants are fat. So he asked me, “do you have suspenders?” Kosikin usually doesn’t need to hang his trouser belt, but I took it with me that time, which just came in handy. Later, when kosikin’s wife met me, she specially thanked me and said that I was a great help that time.

Brezhnev: there is a needle in the quilt

when I came to work with Brezhnev, his brain was not working well. He often spoke incoherently and sometimes it was nonsense. For example, in 1978, defense minister Ustinov was awarded the title of Soviet hero. When Brezhnev presented him with the medal, he said, “congratulations on getting a girl!” I was there and heard it clearly.

we must pay attention to all the details in our work. For example, if I send a glass of water to the leader’s bedroom, and then if someone has gone in, I have to check whether the glass of water is more or less, and whether someone has added something to the glass.

in case of overseas visit, we should clean up all clues before returning home, especially the packaging of drugs. Foreign agents are everywhere. They will check all the garbage in order to find out what disease our “czar” has.

I have dealt with sewing needles more than once in my work. When Brezhnev visited Finland, I checked his quilt in his hotel and found a needle in it. It’s a new quilt. It must not have been put in by someone. It may have just fallen inadvertently when sewing the quilt.