Lebed did not take these attacks lying down. He told the Duma that he had completed the mission entrusted to him by Yeltsin in July and brokered a peace in Chechnya. He acknowledged that many difficult military and political problems remained to be resolved, but said it was now time for others to undertake the task of reconstructing the war-torn republic. (BBC World Service, October 2) This was a very clever move on Lebed’s part. By putting the ball in Chernomyrdin’s court, Lebed placed the prime minister in a no-win situation. As usual, Lebed is playing to the gallery. He can now take the credit for the Chechen peace, while government leaders will have either to open negotiations with the Chechen opposition and continue Lebed’s work, thereby endorsing the policies that yesterday they criticized so harshly, or risk being seen as responsible if the situation in Chechnya deteriorates and hostilities resume. But Lebed suffered one setback yesterday, when Yeltsin named Yuri Baturin to head the presidential commission on higher military appointments. (Interfax, October 2) Lebed, who replaced Baturin as presidential security adviser in June, complained two weeks ago that he had been promised the post but that Kremlin opponents were trying to take it away from him. Apparently they have succeeded.
Russian Gas Giant in Wrangle Over Tax Clampdown.