The commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, Lt. General Vyacheslav Tikhomirov on June 24 challenged the Kremlin’s official policy in Chechnya. Tikhomirov told a Grozny news conference that the troop withdrawal should follow, not precede, the end of the conflict. He said that the current negotiations merely allow the Chechen forces to regroup and prepare for new military action, and that Moscow’s choice is to support either the "lawful, popularly-supported government" of Doku Zavgaev or "the bandits," as Tikhomirov described Moscow’s partners in the armistice negotiations. He then criticized OSCE mission chief Tim Guldimann’s position as "one-sided," "favoring the separatists," and "risking to cause a breakdown in the armistice talks." Tikhomirov said that he had voiced these views at last week’s session of the government’s special commission for Chechnya settlement. (Interfax, June 24 and 25). Tikhomirov has constantly sniped at Moscow’s political initiatives in Chechnya and is a leading advocate of the use of force.
It is a little known fact that Tikhomirov served as chief of staff of the 14th Army in Moldova under Aleksandr Lebed, now Russia’s most powerful military and security official. Lebed and Tikhomirov carried out the 14th Army’s victorious operation against Moldova in the Transdniester conflict. Lebed’s handling of Tikhomirov should provide a clue to the Kremlin’s real policy intentions in Chechnya.
Dole Indicates Support for Balts.