Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 137

Russian Security Council secretary and presidential security advisor Aleksandr Lebed, who has been hungrily demanding new powers since he joined the Yeltsin team, got at least part of his wish July 10 with the signing of two decrees by Boris Yeltsin. One granted Lebed unspecified emergency powers to fight crime in Moscow, a task that Lebed described as the starting point for a national battle against organized crime. "There are extremely dangerous cases of organized crime and its links with government officials," Lebed was quoted as saying of Moscow. "It’s an ideal place for beginning the vast, long, and hard work. (AP, July 11)

A second Yeltsin decree approved regulations on the status and functioning of Russia’s Security Council. According to reports out of Moscow, the Security Council secretary informs the president on foreign and domestic threats, develops strategic national defense concepts, submits proposals to the Security Council on coordinating activities of the various security services in emergency situations, and oversees the heads of federal bodies charged with ensuring the nation’s security. (Itar-Tass, July 11)

While it is difficult to interpret what all this will mean in practice, the range of powers granted Lebed does not seem commensurate with those he has sought at various times since joining the Kremlin team. But during a news conference yesterday Lebed professed to be "fully satisfied" with what he described as a "significant widening" in the functions and tasks assigned to the Security Council. Among other things, he highlighted the fact that the council would henceforth deal with security issues in the social, information, economic, and defense fields, as well as prepare draft presidential decrees on questions of national security. (Interfax, July 11)

Wrangle over "Power Ministry Appointments."