The Warrior Who Would Rule Russia

A Profile of Aleksandr Lebed

by Benjamin S. Lambeth


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This report offers a detailed portrait of retired Russian Army Lieutenant General Aleksandr I. Lebed, who first rose to prominence in 1993 as the commander of Russia’s 14th Army in Moldova and later was appointed security advisor in 1996 by the reelected President Boris Yeltsin. Lebed, who himself finished a strong third in the June 16 presidential election, joined forces with Yeltsin and helped ensure the latter’s victory in the subsequent July 3 runoff. A richer understanding of Lebed’s declared outlook on a broad range of issues can offer valuable insights into what kind of Russia the United States will have to deal with in the years ahead. The report portrays Lebed as a respected professional of strong authoritarian bent and unsure devotion to democracy, yet one who has spoken out against crime and corruption, appears committed to a market economy, and is less aggressively nationalistic than many Western accounts have suggested.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    The Popular Image of Lebed

  • Chapter Three

    Lebed’s Rise to Public Prominence

  • Chapter Four

    On Russia and Its Place in the World

  • Chapter Five

    The External Security Environment

  • Chapter Six

    The Military and Society

  • Chapter Seven

    Domestic Politics and Social Problems

  • Chapter Eight

    Lebed’s Likely Policy Agenda

  • Chapter Nine

    Lebed’s Near-Term Political Prospects

  • Chapter Ten

    Implications for the West

  • A Sampler of Lebedisms

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