Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 122

. President Boris Yeltsin yesterday employed Russia’s armed forces yet again as a campaign backdrop, appearing on TV with military leaders and his new security supremo, retired General Aleksandr Lebed, at a ceremony marking the graduation of cadets from Russian military academies. Yeltsin reportedly avoided mention of deposed defense minister Pavel Grachev, but told the cadets that the army "is on the threshold of deep transformations."

In remarks that appeared to echo those he had submitted a day earlier in his national security message to the parliament (See Monitor, June 26), Yeltsin also said that while the danger of global military confrontation had decreased, Russia continued to face the threat of localized wars on its borders. NATO enlargement and a "new division of Europe" were causes of special concern, Yeltsin continued, and compelled Russia to maintain a "strong army that would be one of the pillars of Russian statehood and a reliable guarantor of [Russia’s] security, integrity and stability." Yeltsin commended Russia’s soldiers for demonstrating "staunchness, courage, and a readiness for self-sacrifice" during military operations in Chechnya. (Interfax, Reuter, June 26)

Turnout Seen as Key.