Don't know how many of you knew this fact but Russian people hated Putin back in early 2000's... Everyone knew he won the election by fraud and there was big movement to end his presidency in 2004.
Here's an article from 2002. General Lebed was supposed to run for presidency in 2004 against Putin and would likely win but mysterious died in a crash in 2002.
General Alexander Lebed died in a mysterious plane crash in Siberia last week. According to preliminary reports from the crash site, the Mi-8 helicopter with 20 passengers and crew members got tangled in power lines due to fog and poor visibility. Lebed was a significant figure in Russian politics, as well as being a bona fide Soviet war hero who was equally successful as a diplomat following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lebed is also a significant figure from the American perspective. Lebed knew plenty. It was General Alexander Lebed who first revealed the existence of suitcase sized nuclear bombs developed as weapons of sabotage by the KGB. It was Lebed who told Congress in 1997 that, following the break-up of the Soviet Union, about half of them were unaccounted for. It was soon after that Lebed became a political liability to the leaders of the “new” Russia.
Alexander Lebed born in the southern city of Novocherkassk on April 20, 1950.
He joined the army at an early age, became a battalion commander in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, and by 1989 was commander of the elite Tula paratroop division.
Lebed was a hero of the Soviet coup attempt of 1991, refusing to move his 14th army troops against Boris Yeltsin, saying afterwards he "could not care less for democracy", but would not shoot fellow Russians.
Lebed played a key role in the early Yeltsin government. In 1992, Lebed helped resolve the conflict between the government in Moldova and Slav separatists. Lebed’s successful defense of Russian interests there won him accolades as a true Russian patriot.
As his popularity grew among the voters, his star began to dim at the Kremlin. Lebed was a candidate for the 1996 Russian presidency, placing third behind Yeltsin and Communist Party candidate Gennady Zyuganov.
To keep an eye on him, Lebed was brought into the administration - as Secretary of the Security Council and Security Adviser.
In return, Lebed delivered his votes to Yeltsin in the second round and Yeltsin sailed to victory.
Yeltsin’s first job for Lebed was designed to end his popularity. The day after the election, Lebed was assigned to settle the conflict in Chechnya.
Less than three months later, Lebed signed a ceasefire with Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov.
Yeltsin dropped him soon afterwards, fearing his growing power. That didn’t stop Lebed. In May 1998, Lebed won the governorship of the huge Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia.
Lebed stood a real chance of beating Russian President Vladimir Putin next time around. Until his unfortunate death at fifty-two in a plane crash in Siberia.
But it does show some progress in Kremlin thinking over the years. Back in Khruschev’s day, most Russian leaders died after catching a cold.