Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 135

Russia’s disgraced former defense minister charged yesterday that allegations of corruption leveled against him and military leaders in his entourage had been cooked up as part of a broader power struggle in the Kremlin. According to Pavel Grachev, newly appointed Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed was behind the corruption charges in a July 5 speech to parliament by Duma defense committee chairman general Lev Rokhlin. Grachev told a Russian daily that Rokhlin’s speech was intended to discredit candidates for Russia’s Defense Ministry post who are competing with Lebed’s own choice, General Staff Academy chief Igor Rodionov. Grachev also suggested that as defense minister he had on a number of occasions used his influence to help Rokhlin out of personal difficulties — including procuring for him illegally an apartment in Moscow — and that Rokhlin had never interpreted those actions as "corrupt." Grachev denied all of Rokhlin’s accusations against him and those military leaders close to him, and said that several generals from the latter group were preparing to take legal action against Rokhlin. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, Reuter, July 9)

Meanwhile, Army General Konstantin Kobets, a candidate for defense minister and one of the generals who had reacted most strongly to Rokhlin’s corruption charges, appeared to be headed in an opposite direction yesterday. Although he criticized Rokhlin for discrediting the armed forces as a whole with his remarks, Kobets told the press that he would not sue Rokhlin and also that he did not believe Lebed was behind Rokhlin’s accusations. Meanwhile, Rokhlin was mildly reprimanded yesterday by the leadership of his faction, "Russia is Our Home", for failing to consult before going public with his charges. Apparently, Rokhlin also failed to confer with other members of the Duma’s defense committee. (Interfax, July 9)

Corruption Elsewhere.