Following lengthy and heated debates on the recently revealed Russian arms deliveries to Armenia, Russia’s Duma adopted on April 11 a toothless resolution. It urged President Boris Yeltsin to ensure compliance with existing legislation on arms exports, to take legal action against violators in general, and to "avert interstate complications" in the process of developing military cooperation with CIS countries. The Duma further asked Russia’s prosecutor general to investigate unauthorized arms transfers and the possible involvement of senior Russian military officers. It requested that the Accounting Chamber look into the financial aspects of the deliveries.
The resolution is advisory, and its wording was watered down by supporters of Armenia from both the nationalist-Communist and the democratic camps. The Duma’s Defense Committee chairman, Gen. Lev Rokhlin, had submitted a far more strongly worded draft. Rokhlin had recently revealed the clandestine arms transfers to Armenia, which were carried out gratis from 1993-1996 and are valued at more than $1 billion. (Interfax, Itar-Tass, Kommersant-Daily, April 12)
Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, who had confirmed Rokhlin’s disclosures, condemned the clandestine deliveries and "the guilty generals" in an interview over the weekend. Wondering aloud "how is it possible to secretly arm a CIS country behind the back of another," Rodionov described the practice as incompatible with the goal of creating a CIS defense space. (Moskovsky komsomolets, April 12) Rokhlin and Rodionov last week named the "guilty generals" as former defense minister Gen. Pavel Grachev, former General Staff chief Gen. Mikhail Kolesnikov, and Col. Gen. Fyodor Reut, until recently in command of Russian forces in the Transcaucasus.
Russian Military Mission Attached to Tajik Army.