Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 52

Amid continuing speculation that Defense Minister Igor Rodionov could be one of those to lose his post in Boris Yeltsin’s impending government reshuffle, a Russian daily reported on March 11 that responsibility for top appointments in the armed forces will soon be transferred from Defense Council secretary Yuri Baturin to the president’s personnel policy administration. (Kommersant-daily, March 11) Those military personnel responsibilities confer significant influence within the defense hierarchy (the transfer of those powers last year to Baturin from then Security Council secretary Aleksandr Lebed was an early signal of Lebed’s declining authority in the Kremlin), and, if the report is true, Baturin will seemingly be weakened as a result. The Defense Council secretary has been involved in a well-publicized struggle with Rodionov over the shape of Russian defense reform, and appeared to enjoy Yeltsin’s support. With Rodionov still in limbo, however, the significance of this latest development remains unclear. But the shift in responsibilities could prove to be a key one, given the rumors that a big (and some would say long-overdue) turnover in top defense personnel is imminent.

Navy Chief to Get the Axe.