ON THE EVE OF HIS MURDER LEV ROKHLIN WAS THE MOST POPULAR POLITICIAN IN THE ARMED FORCES

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Growth of the troops opposition attitude is becoming a factor, which may really threaten security of the country

Today there are several versions of the murder of leader of the movement in support of the Armed Forces Lev Rokhlin: political, family, “Chechen”, accidental and so on. As a rule, the character of versions is connected with political position of the people, who offer them. Opposition leaders and parties insist upon political versions of the murder. For example, CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov, LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, chairman of Duma security council Victor Ilukhin reported about this.

Version about the assassination made to order was also supported by the executive committee of the movement in support of the Armed Forces, defense industry and science, which Lev Rokhlin had headed. Colleague of the general, deputy chairman of the movement Alexander Morozov, speaking about conditions, under which the assassination took place, doubted that general’s wife Tamara Rokhlina could have murdered her husband: “there is an ideal acoustic there. Even when there are many people there, conversations and every step is reflected in the house. What you say in the bedroom can be heard downstairs. Just imagine, according to the medical information, the death happened around 4 a. m. There are five people in the house. Everyone is sleeping, complete silence. Not a single person heard the shot. Thus we can not exclude the version that there was a muffler. No muffler was found”.

Analogous arguments are represented by the relatives of Rokhlin, who doubt that Tamara Rokhlina could in cold blood commit a murder. The press reported some other details of the murder. It is possible that someone secretly crawled into the house of Rokhlin and assassinated the deputy. Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that several burnt corpses were founded in the forest near Rokhlin’s dacha. The newspaper’s version does not exclude that these could have been the killers, whom their customers killed to cover their tracks.

On Tuesday afternoon Public Russian television suggested a “Chechen” version of the murder. Assistant of Lev Rokhlin started inspection of the oil companies, which had been suspected of supply of oil dollars to Dudaev’s regime during he Chechen campaign. As soon as the inspection was started, the car of Rokhlin’s assistant was attacked.

Meanwhile, the opposition leaders tried to connect the murder of Lev Rokhlin with the possible alleged preparation of military coup in the country. Thus, Victor Ilukhin reported that he learned that certain political forces and members of Yeltsin’s entourage are pushing him towards the forceful solution of the current situation in the country. In particular, the President is imposed the suggestion about disbanding of the State Duma, arrests of some political leaders of the let-wing opposition.

One of the versions of Rokhlin’s assassination is connected with the name of Luzhkov. TV-6 and Nezavisimaya Gazeta think that the murder was organized t prevent Rokhlin for the close political alliance with the Moscow mayor. Friendly relations of Luzhkov with the general are confirmed by the worm words of the Moscow mayor about the diseased. He is the only top ranking official, who came to say farewell to the general to the House of Officers, where he coffin with his body was exposed.

Rokhlin’s daughter Yelena told about his possible contacts with “an important person” on Friday in her interview to Moskovsky Komsomolets. It is possible that this could have been his meeting with Luzhkov. Yelena told about this circumstance: “When we were at the birthday of Igor, the father told Sergei that on Friday morning an important meeting has to be organized, which, according to him, “has to primarily define the future mechanism of behavior”.

Official authorities right at once stuck to the social version of general’s death. Representatives of the law-enforcement organs consider the murder to be committed on the social basis and say that we should not look for any political or economic reason.

Meanwhile the conversations about the reasons of death of the main military opposition leader of the country highlight the real problems, connected with the morale of the troops and prognosis of the future events development. There is no Rokhlin anymore, but his organization is alive. It is registered by the ministry of Justice and is officially operating in more than 60 regions of the country. Despite that some observers consider it to be illusory, the organization, judging by many indirect evidences, is not such. For example, according to results of the closed polls, organized by the military sociologists in the garrisons, degree of Rokhlin’s popularity among the officers was the highest one among the other well-known political leaders. To some extent these results are confirmed by results of the content analysis of the regional press and real facts of the Armed Forces representatives participation in Rokhlin’s movement, published by the mass media (we can recall at least the “Volgograd case” or cases of the leaflets distribution in the General Staff, about which Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie recently wrote).

Such information, having a certain classification “for protection from alien eyes” is evidently regularly reported to the Defense Minister and to the President, but it was not disclosed to the public, confirming the well-known thesis about the non-democratic character and closeness of he Armed Forces and power from the country’s population.

The information about the Armed Forces attitude, confirming the thesis about he growth f social tension among the militaries, also needs publication.

According to the polls, the so-called social apathy grew among the professional militaries. The number of people, ready for radical steps grew significantly. The fact that, according to the polls, some 8% of officers and warrant-officers participate or would like to participate in activity of the parties and movements, being in opposition to the current regime (movement in support of the Armed Forces- 88%, CPRF- 5%, LDPR- 2%, Yabloko- 1%) testifies the significant politicization of he Armed Forces. In many reduced garrisons the work of the organizations, calling themselves military labor unions, was activated. Some officers were noticed to be connected with the Russian National Unity (RNU). Along with this the ideological motives for participation in this movement, are supplemented by the material ones: many officers, as well as the RNU members, freelance in the private security firms, sport and youth clubs.

We need to point out that the socioeconomic problems, which the Kremlin still can not surmount, contributed significantly to the growth of popularity of Lev Rokhlin in the troops. In 1998 the money from the budget is assigned for defense needs according to the clauses, connected with payment of money allowances to the servicemen, as a rule. There are practically no assignments for the combat training and social needs. Majority of the Armed forces officers received their wages only for April. Almost no one received the annual bonus for 1997 yet. There is an opinion among the Defense Ministry officials that if this situation is preserved, the military budget in 1998 will count for less than 3% of the gross domestic product, which may negatively influence both the time of the military reform organization, and the servicemen’s morale.

Today there is a version that Lev Rokhlin could have destabilized the situation in the troops and in Russia, and evidently due to this he was “removed”. This point of view is quite logical.

Today the authorities and the public are primarily interested how much can he murder of Lev Rokhlin and politicization of professional militaries destabilize the situation in the country. Are the servicemen able to organize a large-scale actions in support of these or those forces now, like it had been in August of 1991 or October of 1993? Analysis of the answers to this question allows us to make a conclusion that if the socioeconomic situation in the country is not improved, the growth of the negative processes in the country will continue. Now the relative stability (against the background of general decline of the discipline, order, growth of crimes and so on) in the troops is achieved on account of the firm centralization of command, some tolerance of the officers and warrant-officers, as well as the promises o the government to repay the wages arrears. Against the background of general crisis in the county the servicemen are at least paid something, although irregularly. Under conditions of impoverishment of the people this creates a virtual illusion of the relative welfare in the society and Armed Forces. Meanwhile such illusion may disappear quickly, if the massive protest actions of the people against the current regime are started in the country. There is a possibility that under certain circumstances the Armed Forces will be unable to fulfill demands of the authorities for enforcement of the order in the country, because degree of the absolute majority of the servicemen’s discontent with the present regime is permanently growing. This is conditions by the following reasons:

1. Growth of the economic crisis and absence of the due financing of the troops.

2. Absence of the funds for the housing for released officers.

3. Politicization of the Armed Forces.

4. Objective discontent of the officers and regional leaders with the radical Armed Forces reduction.

Along with this, like it had been in the past, the military analysts make a conclusion that the Armed Forces are incapable of the independent open anti-Constitutional actions. Open disobedience in the Armed Forces may start only together with he general chaos in the country. Influence of Rokhlin’s movement on the troops depended, and will probably depend on material welfare of the officers. Last year it was possible to extinguish discontent of the officers on account of Svyazinvest sale to the foreign tycoons (Soros). It is possible that now the West will wish to reduce the opposition attitude to the Russian Armed Forces. The USA and the NATO, despite assurances of he Kremlin about controllability o the nuclear forces, are concerned about their security. That is why we can expect that the Kremlin will keep on stagnating due to financial assistance o he West and privatization of the Russian objects by it. Meanwhile, it is evident that very soon another opposition general will replace Rokhlin, which will be able to win the sympathies of the officers. State Duma deputies Boris Gromov and Andrei Nikolaev and Krasnoyarsk governor Alexander Lebed are the most probable of such candidates.

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