This is the committee with jurisdiction over START II, the 1993 bilateral treaty on nuclear warheads ratified by the United States but never by Russia. The committee’s new chairman is retired Army General Andrei Nikolaev, whom President Boris Yeltsin named commander of the border troops in 1993 and dismissed in 1997. Nikolaev wants to take START II back to square one, setting up a working group to examine the treaty’s political and military implications. He links ratification to the U.S. position on a national or theater-wide missile-defense system. Developing such a system would in Russia’s view violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, considered the cornerstone of the U.S.-Russian disarmament structure. Moscow rumors have Nikolaev taking over as minister of defense soon after the March 26 presidential elections.