Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 194

Kulikov’s coup allegations weave together a number of the rumors and conspiracy theories with which Moscow is always awash. In its latest issue, which reached Moscow newsstands before Kulikov made his allegations, the well-informed Moscow News detailed (with some skepticism) reports "from various sources" that Kulikov had foiled a coup attempt by Lebed during the night of October 2-3. Lebed was allegedly planning to bring army units into Moscow in order to take the government and parliament hostage. Lebed intended to force Chernomyrdin to declare Yeltsin incapable of fulfilling his duties and to call early presidential elections. Kulikov allegedly foiled the plot by putting Interior Ministry troops on alert before Lebed could execute his plan. (Moskovskie novosti, No 41, October 13)

As for Kulikov’s charge that Lebed has been mustering a private army, today’s Nezavisimaya gazeta speculates that this allegation is based on the "Russian legion" that Aleksandr Korzhakov talked about setting up in 1994, when he was still in charge of Yeltsin’s presidential guard. Nezavisimaya gazeta points out that it published a leaked draft of Korzhakov’s national guard proposals in its December 15, 1994, issue. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, October 17)

Lebed’s spokesman Alexander Barkhatov denied Kulikov’s accusation that his boss was trying to set up a private army. But Barkhatov offered an alternative explanation, noting that the Security Council is drafting a document on the establishment of mobile forces based on Interior and Defense Ministry troops. That plan is a response to "the problems facing the Interior Ministry and Kulikov’s numerous complaints that he and his ministry cannot cope with these problems," he said. (Itar-Tass, October 17)

Ruptured Relations Between Russia’s Security Chief And Defense Minister?