Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 87

Army Gen. Vladimir Semenov, who was accused of embezzlement and forced to resign last month as commander in chief of Russia’s ground forces, has returned to a warm welcome in his native city Cherkessk, capital of the Republic of Karachaevo-Cherkessia. Local residents encouraged him to run for the republic’s presidency. (NTV, April 26)

Semenov was suspended from his post in December and then dismissed for allegedly abusing his authority. But official reports contained no specifics as to the accusations leveled against Semenov, prompting speculation that he was done in by behind-the-scenes intrigues and giving him the aura of a victim.

In Karachaevo-Cherkessia, Semenov, a Karachai, enjoys enormous authority. Taking into account the great respect which military men enjoy in the Northern Caucasus (military men are presidents in two of the six North Caucasus republics — Chechnya and Ingushetia) Semenov has a good chance of winning election. This would be very distasteful for the Kremlin, however. The general makes no attempt to hide the fact that he considers himself to have been unjustly treated. It therefore seems possible that, in yet another North Caucasus republic, a leader will come to power who is critical of Moscow’s policies.

Likhachev Warns Against Restitution of Monarchy.