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Russia: Rodionov Appoints New Ranking Officers

Moscow, 3 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Defense Minister Igor Rodionov is reported to have made a series of appointments yesterday to ranking positions in the ministry and the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

Sergei Volgin, spokesman for the Defense Ministry's Information Department, told RFE/RL today that among the new appointees are Lt. General Nikolai Pischev to become a deputy chief of the General Staff and Lt. General Leonid Ivashov as head of the staff's international military cooperation department.

Volgin said that other new appointments include:

Major General Gennady Zolotukhin as head of the armed forces' legal services.

Lt. General Grigory Kasperovich as head of the ministry's personnel and military education department.

Col. General Mikhail Klishin as head of the General Staff's mobilization department.

Lt. General Valery Strelnikov as Klishin's first deputy.

Major General Georgy Oleinik as head of the ministry's budget and finance department.

These officers filled posts left vacant after President Boris Yeltsin dismissed in June a number of military officials accused by Aleksandr Lebed of having maneuvered to prevent an ouster of former Defense Minister Pavel Grachev.

Those dismissed then included:

Viktor Barynkin, the first deputy chief of the General Staff.

Anatoly Bogdanov, a deputy chief of the General Staff.

Dmitry Kharchenko, chief of the staff's international military cooperation department.

Valery Lapshov, chief of the defense minister's staff.

Vladimir Shulikov, a deputy commander of the army.

Vyacheslav Zherebtsov, chief of the General Staff's mobilization department

Sergei Zdorikov, head of the defense ministry's propaganda and education department.

Two days ago Rodionov said at a press conference in Moscow that he may appoint his fellow Afghan war veterans Colonel Generals Boris Gromov and Valery Mironov to positions within the armed forces. Gromov is currently a State Duma deputy while Mironov serves as the federal government's chief military expert.

The new appointees appear to be chosen by Rodionov himself. Military analysts have suggested that Lebed, who had earlier played a major role in Rodionov's appointment as minister, did not assume any substantial role in the choice..

"It is quite natural to appoint one's loyal supporters once you become the boss," said retired general Vladimir Serebryannikov, who is now a senior analyst at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Socio-Political Studies, in an interview with RFE/RL.

Serebryannikov said the new appointees are likely to provide Rodionov with crucial support in his efforts to reform the armed forces. These efforts are said to include trimming the military by at least 300,000 positions by 1998.