Retired Russian general Aleksandr Rokhlin has backed away from a weekend call to his supporters to oust the country’s "hated regime" by the spring of 1998. He told the Ekho Moskvy radio station yesterday that he was misunderstood: he meant that the government should be overthrown "purely by non-violent, constitutional means." (RIA Novosti, October 20)
Rokhlin’s call, voiced at a weekend meeting of Rokhlin’s "Movement in Support of the Armed Forces" in the town of Solnechnogorsk near Moscow, aroused widespread attention since many members of the movement are army officers for whom heeding the call would amount to mutiny against their commander-in-chief, President Boris Yeltsin. Russia’s procurator general instructed the chief military prosecutor to institute an inquiry into Rokhlin’s speech, which also included mysterious threats to carry out a "test" of the movement’s strength next February 23 (celebrated in Soviet times as Soviet Army Day, now designated the Day of the Defenders of the Fatherland). Aleksandr Shokhin, leader of the Duma’s pro-government "Russia is Our Home" faction, called Rokhlin’s remarks incompatible with his status as a parliamentary deputy and said NDR would renew its call for Rokhlin to be removed as chair of the Duma’s Defense Committee. (NTV, October 19-20; Reuter, October 19)
Yeltsin Again Backs Landmines Convention.