Duma Defense Committee chairman and retired gen. Lev Rokhlin presided September 20 at the founding congress of a new movement called "Support the Army, Defense Industry, and Science." Rokhlin said President Boris Yeltsin is the main obstacle to the aims of the new movement — "strengthening Russia’s defense capability, creating a modern army, social protection of the military and revival of the nation" — and called on delegates to use all constitutional means to oust him from power. (Itar-Tass, September 20)
The congress was attended by large numbers of retired military officers and by representatives of the main opposition movements. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told participants that the Communists and their allies would support the new movement and that the Duma would refuse to ratify the START II treaty. Also attending were former defense minister Igor Rodionov and nationalist parliamentarians Sergei Baburin and Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Retired gen. Aleksandr Lebed, who has offered to ally with Rokhlin, is touring Japan (see below) and did not attend the congress, but Rokhlin told journalists that his attitude toward Lebed is in any case "not so simple." (Itar-Tass, September 20)
The day before the congress, Rokhlin created a minor sensation when he accused Yeltsin of ordering a campaign to "discredit him politically and eliminate him physically." Rokhlin said the Kremlin plans to frame him for complicity in the massacre of soldiers during the battle for Grozny in January 1995. (RIA-Novosti, September 19)
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