Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 158

Ending two weeks of suspense, Estonia’s parliament yesterday approved President Lennart Meri’s decision to relieve Lt. General Alexander Einseln of his post of army commander. The vote was 53 in favor, 22 against, and 19 abstaining or declining to vote. Meri had relieved Einseln December 2 and forwarded his decision the following day for parliamentary approval, but the general resisted, and picked up significant political support. The parliamentary backlash was partially contained when Meri cited additional grounds for relieving Einseln, which were kept secret in accordance with a resolution of the State Defense Council chaired by the president. (15)

The decision to relieve Einseln follows a conflict of personalities between him and the civilian defense minister Andrus Oovel, whose political position has also been weakened by the conflict. Oovel accused Einseln of incompetence on many counts and also of insubordination to civilian authority. Meri defended Einseln’s record of performance but asserted that the general was mentally and physically exhausted by work, and also implied that he was interfering in political matters. The president initially designated Colonel Johannes Kert, leader of the paramilitary volunteer Defense League (Kaitsellit) as the new army commander, but that nomination has come up against opposition in both political and military circles.

Defense Secretary Perry to Meet With Shmarov, Grachev.