In an interview published in yesterday’s Komsomolskaya pravda, ousted Russian Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed predicted that Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin will soon be made the scapegoat for Russia’s financial problems and be dismissed from his post. His place, according to Lebed, will go to the chief of the presidential staff, Anatoly Chubais. Lebed said the scenario will resemble the ouster of Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, replaced in a palace coup by Leonid Brezhnev in 1964. Chubais will use his business contacts to pay off wage and pensions arrears as soon as Chernomyrdin is dismissed, Lebed said. According to the retired general, when Khrushchev was deposed, stores were empty and people were panicking. "Along comes Brezhnev. And all of a sudden, everything appears in the shops — vodka, wine and even caviar. Everybody shouts ‘Hoorah!’ That’s Chubais’ plan, too", Lebed said. (Komsomolskaya pravda, Itar-Tass, November 11)
Lebed also said that fighting was unlikely to break out again in Chechnya because he had broken the backbone of the conflict. He ascribed the appointment of Boris Berezovsky to the Security Council as an effort to ensure safe passage for Caspian oil from Azerbaijan through Chechnya to Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. According to Lebed, "If the pipeline goes to Novorossiisk, the restoration of the Chechen economy is guaranteed within six months… If the Chechens agree to lay the pipeline on conditions profitable to big business, Berezovsky will act as peacemaker," Lebed said.
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