Evidently believing that attack is the best means of defense, the Russian Security Council yesterday released an extraordinary press statement criticizing unidentified members of the staff of Russian president Boris Yeltsin. The statement accuses "certain officials" in the Yeltsin administration of "trying to drag" Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed into "some kind of internal investigation" of the powers Yeltsin gave Lebed to resolve the Chechen conflict. "Under various trumped up pretexts and claiming to act in the name of the Russian president, certain officials who clearly have too much time on their hands are carrying out an incorrect and at times downright insulting review of the Security Council secretary’s responsibilities," the statement reads. (Interfax, September 17) Although the statement does not name the officials in question, its complaints about the "intrigues" of "cynical courtiers" are clearly aimed at Presidential Chief-of-Staff Anatoly Chubais and the members of what is known as "the Chubais team" in the Kremlin.
The statement fits with Lebed’s tactic of going public to preempt attempts by those he sees as his rivals to undermine his activities. Lebed is said to be convinced that his main enemies within the top leadership are Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and Presidential Chief-of-Staff Anatoly Chubais (though the list does not stop there) and that they are hoping that he will discredit himself in Chechnya. Lebed knows that his chief assets in his struggle for influence are the trust of the Chechen opposition in his sincerity and his mounting popularity with the general public.
Lebed’s Tactics So Far Successful.