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Text of Yeltsin's Speech Dismissing Lebed

Text of Yeltsin's Speech Dismissing Lebed

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Following is text of Russian President Boris Yeltsin's televised address Thursday firing national security chief Alexander Lebed.


Esteemed Russians:

Today I would like to say a few words on the situation with Gen. Lebed. Unfortunately, the situation is not great.

Some time ago he offered to resign, but I told him that he must learn to work together with all state organizations and leaders. It is necessary to learn to do that, and then it will be easier for you to solve problems.

This way, not a single problem -- if you are in a quarrel with everybody -- not a single problem can be solved.

Well, we parted and I did not accept his resignation, believing that he would draw conclusions. He has not drawn conclusions. I must say that during this time he has made a series of mistakes, which are simply unacceptable for Russia, and damaging.

Then some sort of election race is being created. The elections are not until the year 2000, but already now such a situation is being created that everybody seems to be striving for elections. Of course, such a situation cannot be tolerated any more. Here, on the contrary, there must be a united team. The team must be close-knit and work as a single fist.

And now it is like a Swan, a Crawfish and a Pike. (This is a play on Lebed's name, which means swan in Russian, and a reference to a Russian fable in which the three animals pull a cart in different directions and it goes nowhere.) And it is Lebed who is splitting them up, taking a series of actions that are not coordinated with the president. This is totally unacceptable.

(Former head of presidential security Alexander) Korzhakov is out of office, and he took him to Tula to represent him there as his successor. He's found himself a successor! Like one, like the other, you know. Two generals!

(Lebed represented the city of Tula in parliament, a seat he had to give up for the government post. He went with Korzhakov last weekend to back Korzhakov's bid to take over the parliament seat.)

On the whole, I cannot tolerate the situation any more, and I have to relieve Gen. Lebed of his position as the secretary of the Security Council.

A decree to this effect will be signed today: to relieve Lebed, Alexander Ivanovich, of the position of secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and assistant to the president of the Russian Federation on national security.


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