Security guards at the Rosvooruzheniye state-owned arms export company in Moscow found a bomb in a corridor leading to the managing director’s reception room on the night of October 8. The device, identified as an OZM-72 anti-personnel fragmentation mine, was reportedly removed from the building and safely destroyed. A nasty weapon, the OZM-72 contains thousands of fragments of chopped wire and is usually detonated by a tripwire. It can kill people within a radius of 25 meters. The company’s press service said that the incident was one of several attempts on the life of managing director Aleksander Kotelkin. It added that several other top executives of the company had received death threats after they had taken steps to see that "some semi-criminal structures" no longer got a cut from Russian arms exports as they had under the former management (ITAR-TASS, October 9 1996). Several other sources questioned the initial reports, claiming that the mine was "incomplete" or even a dummy. (Moskovsky komsomolets, Izvestiya, 9 October 1996)
Rosvooruzheniye had been accused of tax evasion and illegal foreign currency dealings in April 1995 — charges that the company said were the responsibility of the previous management, headed by Lt.Gen. Viktor Samoilov. (Izvestiya, April 19 1995) Retired General and Duma Defense Committee chairman Lev Rokhlin also linked the company to shady dealings this year, as did Segodnya military correspondent Pavel Felgengauer. (Itar-Tass, July 5 1996, Segodnya, 29 August 1996) The present managing director, Kotelkin, is a protege of Gen. Aleksandr Korzhakov, the former chief of Boris Yeltsin’s security service. It was recently suggested that Korzhakov is seeking quick election to parliament at least in part to take advantage of parliamentary immunity and thus to ward off an inquiry into his "special relationship" with Rosvooruzheniye. Aleksandr Lebed, moreover, is said to have had a hand recently in saving Kotelkin’s job. One of Lebed’s less honorable motives was said to be that he has his eye on Rosvooruzheniye’s considerable financial resources, a treasure chest that might come in handy should he decide to make another bid for the presidency. (NTV, October 6 1996)
The company press service also decided to put an anti-Western spin on yesterday’s bomb incident. It pointed to the "strange coordination" in timing between what it called the current slander campaign in the Russian media against it and the "anxiety" shown by Western competitors at Russia’s growing success in the international arms trade (Itar-Tass, October 9 1996)
Belarus President Senses Victory.