Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 14

The pro-government "Russia is Our Home" (ROH) faction in the Russian State Duma is joining forces with the opposition Communist faction to oust Gen. Lev Rokhlin from his post as chairman of the Duma’s influential Defense Committee. ROH hopes the move will speed up passage through parliament of the government’s military reform plans. Only the radical wing of the Communist faction is opposing the deal. (ORT, January 21)

When Rokhlin was appointed chairman of the Defense Committee in January, 1996, he was a member of the ROH faction. He has since formed his own opposition movement and last year he was expelled from ROH. The Communists are prepared to allow ROH to replace Rokhlin because the general has proved too fierce a critic of the government even for most Communists to stomach. Communist leaders in the Duma are actively seeking ways of cooperating with the government and do not want to be embarrassed by Rokhlin’s antics. They also fear that Rokhlin’s movement may encroach on their own support-base.

Rokhlin has responded with angry allegations that President Yeltsin, ROH, and the Communists are all plotting against him and that, in return for their support, the government has promised to bring the Communists into the government. (ORT, January 21) Rokhlin’s ouster from the Defense Committee is indeed being seen as a sign that his brief political career may soon be at an end. This interpretation was implicitly confirmed by President Yeltsin, who told a January 20 meeting of the Defense Council that "We have managed to overcome resistance to military reform among the military, among politicians, and even among the opposition." At the same time, however, Yeltsin’s spokesman said the President has no interest in a coalition government "at present." (Itar-Tass, January 20)

Government/Communist Reapprochement Claims Another Victim.