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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ousted Commander Mounts Campaign to Clear His Name

Vladimir Semyonov, the ground-forces commander who abruptly lost his job last week, is mounting a counter-offensive to clear his name of wrongdoing and possibly win back his job.


Saying he will "defend his honor and dignity to the end," Semyonov, 56, told Interfax on Friday that his removal was a crude conspiracy of a "Jesuit" nature.


In a similar interview with NTV Independent Television aired Thursday night, Semyonov drew a parallel between an assault on his character recently made by top army generals to that of Stalinist purges of the 1930s.


"How can some rumors and an unsubstantiated report lead to my removal?" Semyonov demanded.


Last Friday, Defense Minister Igor Rodionov gave President Boris Yeltsin a document accusing the third-highest ranked general in the army of "actions that discredit the honor and dignity of a serviceman and incompatible with his duty" and proposing his dismissal.


The president signed the letter, but has since failed to issue an official order permanently removing the ground-forces general from army ranks.


On Wednesday, in a surprise decision, the Committee on Army Appointments voted not to recommend that Yeltsin dismiss Semyonov.


Rodionov addressed the committee with a whole slate of allegations against Semyonov, including charges that he sold off high-tech army equipment, resisted leading his troops into Chechnya, and failed to institute military reforms.


But on Thursday, Semyonov hotly denied Rodionov's charges that he and his wife used their rank to illegally peddle helicopters and other military hardware. Semyonov's wife has a low-ranking position with the Rosvertol helicopter company. "My wife does not have such a possibility [to sell helicopters]," Semyonov told Interfax on Thursday. "The sales of combat equipment required an appropriate company and a proper license. Neither I nor my wife have such a company or license."