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Russia: Yeltsin Fires Lebed


Moscow, 17 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin went on national television today and said he was firing Aleksandr Lebed as secretary of the Security Council and as his personal adviser on Chechnya, effective immediately.

Yeltsin, appearing tired and angry, said he was "compelled" to fire Lebed because Lebed was "splitting everyone apart" in the government.

The sacking comes a day after Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov accused Lebed of plotting a coup. Lebed dismissed this as absurd, but the reports have focused world attention on the Kremlin.

Yeltsin today said he had asked Lebed some time ago to learn to work with others. He said that instead, Lebed had continued to act on his own, committing a series of "damaging" and "unacceptable mistakes."

Yeltsin said that at a time when everyone in government was supposed to work together as part of a united team, Lebed had "undertaken a series of actions for which he does not have approval from the president."

Yeltsin said an unacceptable "campaign atmosphere" was being created. Yeltsin expressed anger at Lebed's recent public support of former Kremlin security chief Aleksandr Korzhakov, saying, "Now, the two generals have found each other."

Yeltsin then took out a pen and signed Lebed's dismissal decree on television.
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