Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 24

An article in the August 2 issue of Novye Izvestia, written by journalist Vladimir Urban, focused on the newly named commander of the Combined Group of Russian Forces in Chechnya, Lieutenant General Sergei Makarov, who had just replaced Colonel General Vladimir Moltenskoi, who was rather unexpectedly sent off on a vacation and is to be assigned to another post. From sources in the General Staff, Urban learned that his superiors were imputing two sins to Moltenskoi. First, he “became a victim of his own reports that the Chechen partisans no longer represented a real threat.” Second, a month ago “he spoke about a possible withdrawal of the Combined Group of Forces from Chechnya before the end of the year.” As opposed to the seemingly waffling Moltenskoi, Makarov is a committed “hawk,” a protege of “super-hawk” General Gennady Troshev, commander of the North Caucasus Military District. Makarov “has already succeeded in marking his arrival at Khankala [Military Base] with a declaration that he is prepared ‘if there should be a command’ to expand military actions aimed at the destruction of terrorists to a foreign country [Georgia].”