A Russian man on horseback : the rise of General Alexander Lebed
O'Malley, Kevin D
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General Alexander Lebed burst upon the Russian political scene like a man on horseback, promising to restore order out of chaos, crack down on crime and corruption, and resurrect Russian nationalism. The 1996 presidential elections confirmed his growing, independent constituency of those who could not continue to endorse the Yeltsin government, yet would not retreat to the old ways by voting for the communist candidate Zyuganov. Quickly appointed as national security chief, Lebed won the vote for Yeltsin in the run off election, but was dismissed just four months after taking office. Still, Lebed is today the most popular politician in Russia, admired for his blunt, honest manner and his ending the war in Chechnya. Without the communist party, the uncertain civilian control over the Russian military-especially forces outside the Russian Federation--paved the way for generals like Lebed. As an army commander in Moldova, Lebed captured the public's imagination as a firm, honorable, professional soldier. Lebed earned the reputation as a crude and forcefull leader, but did not develop into the red-brown nationalist portrayed by Western journalism. In this first-ever critical biography, he was instead a charismatic, skillfull yet trainable politician capitalizing on nationalism and the appeal of strong, authoritative leadership
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