Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 167

The pro-government "Russia is Our Home" (NDR) faction in the Russian parliament met yesterday and expelled the controversial Gen. Lev Rokhlin from its ranks. Rokhlin has launched a loud campaign against the government’s proposed reform of the army, which he calls an act of national betrayal; NDR responded with a statement accusing Rokhlin of threatening Russian security by trying to politicize the army. Rokhlin is now touring the regions at a rate of two a day to canvas support for his new All-Russia Movement for the Defense of the Armed Forces and the Defense Industry, before it holds its congress on September 20. (See Monitor, June 26, July 2, 11) Rokhlin says he will refuse to stand down as chairman of the Duma’s Defense Committee, though NDR claims the post is reserved for it under inter-faction agreements.

Rokhlin says he will not join any other Duma faction, but the Communist and nationalist factions have noted with satisfaction that his views are now much closer to those of the opposition than those of the government. The Communists, who make up the Duma’s largest faction, may well support Rokhlin’s efforts to remain as committee chairman. NDR will not give up the committee chairmanship without a fight, however. It intends to put up its own candidate, likely to be NDR deputy faction leader Roman Popkovich. Popkovich is a former general who has in the past been linked to the nationalist Spiritual Heritage movement, to which Communist faction leader Gennady Zyuganov also has strong ties. (Itar-Tass, NTV, Reuter, September 9)

Also yesterday, NDR chose Vladimir Ryzhkov as its nominee to replace Aleksandr Shokhin as deputy speaker of the Duma. Shokhin was elected NDR faction leader last week following the acrimonious departure of Sergei Belyaev. NDR is the second largest faction in the Duma but it has been weakened by recent defections, such as Belyaev’s. (Itar-Tass, September 9)

Moscow Criticizes Pakistan for Nuclear Weapons Statement.