Colonel Mikhail Bergman, the closest confidant of General Aleksandr Lebed during the latter’s service in Moldova, and now a political supporter of Lebed, is suing Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeev in a military court in Tiraspol. Bergman seeks reinstatement in the post of military commandant of Tiraspol and 5 million redenominated rubles in damages. He claims that Sergeev ordered his dismissal from the army because of his refusal to cooperate with an investigation aimed at Lebed.
Significantly, the investigation seeks information about Lebed’s fundraising for the gubernatorial election that he recently won in Krasnoyarsk Territory. The court proceedings began in Tiraspol on August 4, only to be adjourned at the request of Sergeev’s military lawyers, who wanted additional time to study the case. Journalists were not admitted to the courtroom.
The case thus far resembles Bergman’s 1996 litigation with then-Defense Minister, General Pavel Grachev. The latter, too, had dismissed Bergman from the army because of Bergman’s close relationship with Lebed. Bergman sued Grachev for reinstatement and 25 million “old” rubles in compensation, and won both. Transdniester was Lebed’s first political springboard, and Bergman remains an open promoter of Lebed’s ambitions. (Flux, Basapress, August 4-5)
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