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Feb 18, 2021
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He was the standard of strength and spirit

In Soviet times, sport was rich in personalities, people loved by the whole big country. For the fact that they were good at jumping, playing, hammering, dancing, lifting weights. Because they were kind, smart, beautiful. Among them is weightlifter Yuri Vlasov. He was called “The strongest man on the planet” …

He carried the scarlet banner of the Soviet Union at two Olympic Games. Only the most titled, famous ones were appointed as standard-bearers. Yuri Vlasov was the Olympic champion, the winner of the world and European championships. He has set more than thirty world records. This is in weightlifting. And many in life.

Not mountains of stupid muscles
and fortitude …

The bar took off high
like flakes of fluff.

And the audience was already applauding,
the platform just hooted.

The record has been broken. No, not beaten –
it just collapsed …

Boris Vilensky

Yuri Vlasov was the idol of millions. At the same time, he did not at all resemble an athlete. Big, stumpy, and with thick rimmed glasses. Because of the glass – a searching look. Rather, a philosopher, a thinker – he turned out to be, only later, when he let go of the barbell and took up the pen.

However, not quite so. When Yuri Vlasov was a weightlifter, he worked furtively, after training, at night.

He was a strange athlete. Before entering the platform, he whispered poetry. When I gave an interview, I spoke not only about sports, but also about music, painting, literature. I easily switched from Russian to English and French.

I walked through a long human corridor. He bent down, grabbed the barbell with iron hands, lifted it up. A standing ovation, enthusiastic shouts fell on him, but Yuri Vlasov did not jump with delight, but smiled with restraint.

“I was included in government delegations: we flew to Fidel Castro, then to de Gaulle …” he recalled. – Khrushchev loved me, he often invited me to the Kremlin … “

Yuri Vlasov was the standard of strength and spirit – stubborn, adamant. And – unbending: “Everything turned out for me in different ways in different years. It is impossible to say that my health has always been excellent, I underwent three terrible operations: a swelling on my arm from a barbell strike and two operations on the spine, when my family was already warned that I was unlikely to survive. But my sport was not amateur, it was not fun, it was a duel with death. After the operation, I did not die only thanks to sports, I was very strong in spirit, sports brought up the will.

I was able to rise and again returned to iron … But sport was never the goal and the only meaning. He was always the help that led me to the solution of other, more important, in my opinion, problems. “

Yuri Vlasov said that he left the sport of records and championships, far from choosing his strength. The muscles remained strong and plump. But his head was full of ideas, and he decided – it’s time, my friend, it’s time …

Yuri Vlasov had the right to consider himself not only an honored master of sports, but also an honored master of literature. He wrote more than two dozen books – historical and journalistic.

The most important “Special Region of China” – the diaries of his father, a career intelligence officer Pyotr Vlasov. He worked abroad under the name Vladimirov – he was a war correspondent.

The author was summoned to his office by the head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov, and clarified the details. They bored each other with their eyes – the strongest man in the country and the most mysterious …

From the book “Justice of Power”: “It is often asked:” Which is easier – writing or lifting weights? ” The question is ridiculous. How to write, what is the level of your writing, your attitude to this letter … And again, how to raise the “iron” … American publicist Red Smith said: “Writing is easy. You look at your carriage until the cars appear on your forehead. tiny droplets of blood … “”.

Yuri Vlasov believed in perestroika: “So that we finally begin to live without envying the West, so that our people also have everything at the world level – houses, cars, household appliances, and freedom of speech, so that we sincerely, even in kitchen conversations, could be proud of their country … “

But the fresh breeze quickly died down. Illusions dissolved in the stuffy, pre-storm air. The sun of hope was behind the clouds. It was getting dark quickly …

In March 1992, in the midst of “shock therapy” – these beautiful words hid an unprecedented nationwide robbery – Yuri Vlasov published an article “Twilight of Democracy”.

In the article, he expressed his point of view on the events, namely: “Reforms must be carried out with such a depth, scope and pace so as not to break the backbone of the people, so as not to bring it to physical degeneration, undermining the foundations of the state.”

“Is it permissible to drive reforms at such a pace and with such a swing? – Yuri Vlasov was amazed. – Is it not obvious – they are in anguish to the people? You cynically exploit the immeasurable weariness and distortion of the people. You take his silence for approval of your policy. “

His strong heart was tormented by anxiety. He criticized the policy of Russian President Yeltsin, wrote that “reforms are going on, as they say, for a number of reasons, among which, undoubtedly, there is arrogance inherent in ignorance. The Russian authorities are, as it were, branded with them. With arrogance, incompetence or, as they wrote about it in the very recent past, “incompetence” is also walking hand in hand. Sabotage is also seen (in order to infuriate the people, which plays into the hands of certain forces dreaming of a coup). and already with might and main, forgive the rude expression, disdain for the people, contempt for them: this working mass will endure even not that, it will suffer, it will suffer losses – well, not without that … “

And further: passionately, ardently and – exceptionally perspicacious: “Corruption has struck the new system, but with a force about which the old rulers only dare to sigh enviously. This new government has been soiled by it almost to the very top – the country talks about it openly. Bribery, selfish use of official position, deception … and all this is given a coloring of some kind of legality, supposedly without all this is now impossible, and in general it is a feature of Russia … “

What a wise Yuri Petrovich turned out to be! He predicted everything, warned about everything: “Thus, corruption is already forming the basis of state government, threatening to turn the state into a typical mafia state, bound by covetousness, wrong deeds, deception, bribes. Statements about the fight against corruption are worthless (and there is no such direct law), this is just bravado, chatter. All who are capable appropriate. The people are being robbed and at the same time corrupted on behalf of the state power … “

He bitterly asked: “What is the unity of democracy here to interpret? Is it possible on a platform of predation and corruption? Democracy was destroyed by its leaders – this is already a historical fact. They laid it out – and threw it at their feet like a rag … The country is turning into a society without law … “

Yuri Vlasov was a People’s Deputy of the USSR. Later – a deputy of the State Duma of Russia. He ran for mayor of Moscow. Participated in the elections and the President of the Russian Federation.

In his program, he singled out the main problems of the country that need to be solved: to overcome poverty, to stop plundering the largest enterprises due to unfair privatization, to stop the brain drain …

Idealist? Of course! That’s why I lost.

In one of his interviews, Yuri Vlasov said that while participating in the presidential elections, he faced a stream of lies and slander: “I was repeatedly invited to the President-Hotel, where Yeltsin’s election headquarters was. I could make a choice. Or to play by their rules, and then I was offered a game, money, a high rating, wide access to the media. Or a complete blockade in the press, zero percent in all elections, a very difficult future. And I made this choice. Then, two weeks before the vote, a “Special Issue” was released around the country with an obituary that I had died … ”.

Big politics turned out to be evil and cynical. The political weightlifter Yuri Vlasov could not take this “weight”. Because it was necessary to trick, deceive, pretend. This he did not know how and did not want.

In the 90s, Yuri Petrovich left politics. Rather, defiantly, swallowing offense, ran out of it with anger. And he did not return, no matter how persuaded he was …

“How not to recall the words of Alexander Ivanovich Herzen, so revered by me, the light-Herzen:” When all life comes down to self-preservation and deliberation … then goodbye double heartbeat and everything beautiful and energetic … “

Yuri Petrovich Vlasov avoided this.

Valery Bert



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