Russia’s Defense Ministry announced yesterday that Colonel-General Vladimir Chilindin has been appointed commander of Russian Army troops in Tajikistan. Russia has just obtained basing rights for those troops (see the Monitor, April 8, 12). Chilindin was appointed by decision of President Boris Yeltsin, dispensing with the six-year old pretenses that those are “CIS peacekeeping” troops and that the commander’s appointment is a CIS decision.
Chilindin has until now headed the Russian Ground Forces’ training department (Itar-Tass, April 20). He replaces Lieutenant-General Nikolai Pugachev, who had commanded the Russian Army troops in Tajikistan since 1998. The upgrading of that post suggests that Chilindin might be slated to command more forces than Pugachev did. Such an increase would, however, be inconsistent with Moscow’s recent assurances that it does not intend to augment its troops in Tajikistan.
RUSSIA OBTAINS MILITARY BASING RIGHTS IN TAJIKISTAN.