Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 121

Russian president Boris Yeltsin yesterday signed a decree ordering the Defense Ministry to begin now, and to complete by September 1, the withdrawal from Chechnya of troops belonging to the Leningrad, Moscow, and Volga-Ural military districts. But the document stipulates that "the withdrawal will be carried out depending on the degree of stabilization of the situation in Chechnya’s districts and localities" — a qualification reminiscent of Yeltsin’s March 31/April 1 decree ordering a cessation of military action except "special operations" as needed.

At the same time the decree instructs the government to provide resources for setting up quarters for the army troops to be permanently stationed in Chechnya. The document as reported does not mention Internal Affairs Ministry troops. Moscow is known to plan to "permanently station" at least one army brigade and one internal troops brigade in Chechnya.

But army officers anonymously told Russian TV of their concern that the withdrawal order may be rescinded immediately after the second round of Russia’s presidential election. Similarly, Grigory Yavlinsky commented that the Kremlin’s promises to withdraw the troops were "an electoral gimmick" which can not end the war.

Grozny collaborationist deputy prime minister Kharon Amerkhanov publicly complained yesterday that widespread criminal offenses by federal forces "are antagonizing the population" and "contribute to the numerical growth of the armed opposition." (Itar-Tass, Interfax, Russian TV, NTV, June 24 and 25)

Will Lebed Discipline Tikhomirov?