Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 160

In a surprise move apparently connected to the Kremlin’s controversial military reform effort, President Boris Yeltsin yesterday named Andrei Kokoshin to head the Chief Military Inspectorate as well as to replace Yury Baturin as secretary of the Defense Council. Kokoshin has been the highest-ranking civilian in the Defense Ministry since he was appointed first deputy minister in April, 1992. He had concerned himself chiefly with economic affairs and weapons research and procurement. In January 1996 he was given the additional title of Secretary of State in a move said to be aimed at giving him more weight with the parliament. His name has come up each time a new defense minister has been chosen.

Yeltsin created the Chief Military Inspectorate in November 1996, but until now no one had been named to fill the top post. Former defense minister Pavel Grachev was often rumored to be a candidate for the job. The inspectorate is an independent body within the president’s office, and with its creation superseded an inspectorate in the Defense Ministry that had a reputation of being a sinecure for retired generals and admirals. The agency that Kokoshin now heads appears destined to play a much more important role than when the inspectorate was moved into the president’s office last year. It will reportedly supervise the implementation of military reform in all the various power ministries and will supplement if not guide the Defense Council.

As for Yury Baturin, aspiring cosmonaut and former secretary of the Defense Council, a member of Yeltsin’s staff said yesterday that he would stay on as a presidential advisor and would be given new duties by Yeltsin within a few days. (Russian media, August 28)

A Tough Reform Budget for Russia in 1998?