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Valery Illyushin was a public servant and political adviser to many Premiers of the former Soviet Union, and later to Presidents of the Russian Federation.

In a career spanning more than fifty years, Illyushin worked under Premiers from Khrushchev to Gorbachev, and also served as advisor to Russian Presidents Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin before retiring.

Soon after Putin's appointment as Acting President in the late 1990s, he and Illyushin spent a January morning discussing the situation in Chechnya. Asked how he would quell the rebellions, Illyushin pointed to the success of Victor and Andre Drazen's Black Dogs secret police in Serbia, and how effectively they had eliminated all of Milošević's opposition. Putin replied that he supported the Russian Army, but that what Illyushin suggested was a throwback to the "days of blood" under Stalin. Illyushin later recounted this exchange in his memoir, Fifty Years Inside the Kremlin: A Survivor's Story. (Findings at CTU)