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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lebed Prepares To Start New Job

TIRASPOL, Moldova -- Outspoken General Alexander Lebed said Thursday he was leaving the former Soviet republic of Moldova for Moscow to start a new life in politics.

Lebed, who is widely tipped as a potential presidential candidate, said he would leave Moldova on Friday to take up his new post as deputy chairman of the Congress of Russian Communities -- a patriotic political movement.

He resigned this month as commander of Russia's 14th Army, which is based in Moldova, over plans to downgrade it.

"I have been given the post of deputy chairman of the Congress of Russian Communities. Now I have to move to Moscow and decide what to do next," Lebed told a farewell news conference at his home in the Moldovan town of Tiraspol.

"It is clear right now that Lebed will be a centrist in politics," he said, but gave no indication whether he would run in a presidential election due next year.

Lebed is a harsh critic of the Russian authorities and the Chechnya campaign.