'Team should pull together like a fist'
Friday 18 October 1996
"Respected citizens of Russia, Today I would like to say a few words about the situation regarding General Lebed. Unfortunately, the situation has turned out rather poorly. Some time ago he offered to resign and I told him that he had to learn to work with all state organisations and leaders. [I told him] you have to learn how to do this, and then it will be easier for you to resolve problems. But if you are at odds with everyone you will not solve a single problem.
Well, we parted. I did not accept his resignation, thinking he would draw conclusions. He did not. But it has to be said that during this time he made a number of mistakes which were simply unacceptable for Russia and were to its detriment. And now it looks as though some kind of election race is under way. The election won't be held until the year 2000 and already we have a situation where everyone seems to want to take part in an election. Of course, such a situation can no longer be tolerated. On the contrary, there has to be a united team; the team should pull together, work like a fist. But now we have a situation whereby Lebed is splitting the team apart and is carrying out a number of moves which he did not agree with the President.
This is totally unacceptable. [Former Yeltsin chief bodyguard Alexander] Korzhakov has been sacked and he [Lebed] took him to Tula to present him as though he were his successor. Well, he could have found a better one. They are both birds of a feather.
To sum up, I cannot tolerate this situation any longer and I am obliged to relieve General Lebed of his duties as Secretary of the Security Council. A decree to this effect will be signed this very day.
(Mr Yeltsin then read out the text of the decree):
To relieve Lebed, Alexander Ivanovich, of the duties of Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and of (the duties of) aide to the President of the Russian Federation on national security.
(Mr Yeltsin then signed the decree).
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