Among the developments that led finally to Rodionov’s February 17 meeting with Yeltsin was a much publicized press conference on February 6 in which Rodionov claimed that Moscow was losing control over its nuclear forces. With that warning in mind, Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin met on February 21 with the command of Russia’s strategic missile forces. Accompanied by Rodionov and the strategic rocket forces commander-in-chief, Igor Sergeev, he assured the generals that the Kremlin is both concerned over — and well-informed about — the problems that they face. Afterward, Chernomyrdin pronounced the personnel, technology, and weapons systems of the missile forces to be "99.9" percent reliable. He also suggested that Russia’s strategic nuclear forces would henceforth get priority funding from the state budget. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, February 21) In a magazine interview published yesterday, Defense Council secretary Yuri Baturin also chimed in on the reliability of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, describing them as "completely under control" and fully able "to carry out the orders they receive." (Interfax, February 25)
Death of Andrei Sinyavsky.