Flanked by a small army of police officers and journalists, defense minister Pavel Grachev arrived at court on Wednesday morning to appear in his libel suit against Moskovsky komsomolets journalist Vadim Poegli. Grachev had initially declined to attend the hearing, but deferred to Boris Yeltsin, who wanted to placate public opinion. As to Poegli’s expose of military corruption published one year ago, Grachev told the court that the article was slanderous in general, but he took especial offense at being called a vor (thief). After the minister left the proceedings early to fly to the US on an official visit, Poegli argued his innocence to the court. (3) On the eve of the hearing, Moskovsky komsomolets publicly tried to mend fences with Grachev, evidently unsuccessfully.