President Eduard Shevardnadze has appointed Major-General Johnny Pirtskhalaishvili to the post of chief of staff of the armed forces. Pirtskhalaishvili, 51, is a graduate of the Frunze Military Academy in Moscow and commanded a Soviet motor-rifle division in Ukraine before returning to Georgia. (Itar-Tass, May 8) Pirtskhalaishvili became the first defense minister of independent Georgia and was later deputy minister under Vardiko Nadibaidze, but ultimately resigned because of differences with Nadibaidze over military reforms. Shevardnadze released Nadibaidze and appointed Davit Tevzadze as defense minister last week. (See the Monitor, May 4 and 5) Pirtskhalaishvili is more senior than Tevzadze and has a more professional background. Tevzadze did not graduate from a military academy, and was promoted from colonel to major-general after having been appointed as minister.
KYRGYZ MUSLIM BOARD RESPONDS TO SECURITY MINISTRY’S ALLEGATIONS.