Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 119

Addressing a weekend meeting of his supporters, President Yeltsin’s new national security supremo Aleksandr Lebed said he stood "shoulder to shoulder" with the president and called on those who voted for him in the first round to transfer their votes to Yeltsin in the second. Now was not the moment for "opposition, unrest and barking from behind the bushes," Lebed said. (ORT, Interfax, June 22) Yeltsin hopes his decision to bring Aleksandr Lebed into the government will secure him the lion’s share of Lebed’s 11 million supporters, but doubts remain as to Lebed’s ability to deliver.

Lebed said he had sided with Yeltsin since the president represented a "new idea" for Russia; he said the idea of communism had a right to exist but was unworkable in a civilized country. He said Russia was on the brink of an abyss with the ecology and the military close to collapse, and that he wanted to institute "civilized legislative experiments" to restore law and order to get the country back on its feet. Lebed added that he expected to be granted more authority than his predecessor as secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council, Oleg Lobov, and that Yeltsin had agreed to adopt those parts of Lebed’s program that aim to crack down on crime and corruption. Lebed proposals were being prepared to broaden the authority of the Security Council, including the appointment of Security Council representatives in the regions. Lebed also said that he expected to be given responsibility for Chechnya and to travel there soon after the second round of the election. The signs are that Yeltsin wants reelection so badly that he has not only jettisoned his closest aides but has also promised Lebed the wide powers he has demanded.

…While Polls Indicate Majority Approve Lebed’s Appointment.