Retired Lt. General Aleksandr Lebed said January 4 that it would be "senseless" for him to seek the post of chairman of the Duma defense committee because the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO) had won only meager representation in the new parliament. Lebed is co-leader of KRO and that bloc’s declared presidential candidate for the June 1996 elections. KRO won five seats in single-mandate constituencies in the recent parliamentary elections. The former commander of Russian forces in Moldova is popular in the Russian army and has long been an outspoken critic of the military reform program pursued by the government and the Russian Defense Ministry. Indeed, a bitter feud between Lebed and Defense Minister Pavel Grachev would ensue if Lebed were to assume the Duma chairmanship. A KRO spokesman was quoted yesterday as suggesting that generals Eduard Vorobyov or Boris Gromov, whose relations with Grachev are likely to be less contentious, might be suitable for the post. (8) Yet Grachev drove Gromov out of the Defense Ministry into an advisory post in the Foreign Ministry and dismissed Vorobyov when the latter refused to take command of Russian troops in Chechnya in December 1994.
Chechnya Awaits Another Staged Election.