Russia’s military corruption scandal heated up yesterday as General Lev Rokhlin, Duma defense committee chairman and a member of Viktor Chernomyrdin’s "Russia is Our Home" faction, defended charges of embezzlement that he had leveled against a number of military leaders on July 5. (See Monitor, July 8) Rokhlin again said that all of his charges were corroborated by an investigation carried out by the government’s Accounting Chamber, and added that he was prepared "to bear personal responsibility for everyone mentioned in the report." Rokhlin also declared that he went public when he did in order to ensure that recently dismissed defense minister Pavel Grachev — believed by many to be at the center of the current corruption scandal — would not be followed by an equally crooked successor. (Itar-Tass, RTR, "Vesti," July 8)
That charge was directed at Army General Konstantin Kobets, Russia’s chief military inspector and a long-time ally of Boris Yeltsin. Kobets, who has been mentioned as a contender for the Defense Ministry post, on July 7 angrily denied Rokhlin’s allegations. (Interfax, July 7) The military leadership aired more dirty laundry that same day when the commander of Russia’s airborne forces, General Yevgeny Podkolzin, said on Russian TV that Rokhlin was responsible for the destruction of a motorized rifle brigade during the assault on Grozny. Rokhlin, who commanded the January 1995 assault on the Chechen capital, denied the charge. (RTR, "Vesti," July 8)
Chechnya Ultimatum Suggests Renewal of Hostilities.