In the wake of quashing what he alleged June 18 was a budding military conspiracy, Aleksandr Lebed yesterday held an unscheduled meeting with Russia’s General Staff in order to discuss possible personnel changes within the military leadership. (Reuter, June 19) Lebed had said June 18 that he would ask for the resignations of five top generals involved in the alleged conspiracy, and most observers believe that announcement to be merely a prelude to a larger purge of Grachev loyalists from leading defense positions.
Meanwhile, a political brouhaha began to develop yesterday over Lebed’s highly publicized conspiracy charges. In a statement read on Russian television the Defense Ministry denied that Grachev and his close associates had plotted to pressure Boris Yeltsin into reinstating Grachev. (Reuter, June 19) The Russian Duma also expressed its doubts about the charges yesterday, and demanded a detailed investigation into the alleged conspiracy. Its defense and security committees were ordered to report back to the Duma on the case. (RTR, June 19) While Lebed’s June 18 remarks on the alleged conspiracy won him some headlines and probably enhanced his already formidable reputation as a "man of action," a failure to substantiate the charges could prove embarrassing both to him and to the campaigning Boris Yeltsin.
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