There is cleansing going on among the top commanders of the Ukrainian military. The presidential order to dismiss GTeneral Vladimir Tkachev from the position of the commander-in-chief of the anti-aircraft forces was announced yesterday. Tkachev and former Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexander Kuzmuk were the ones who were passionately rejecting the idea of a missile downing the Tu-154 Russian passenger jet. At first, Tkachev was relieved of his duties, and now, he has been dismissed.
Observers are actively discussing the new Minister for Defense Vladimir Shkidchenko. They say it is a step for Moscow and Kiev becoming closer to each other. Shkidchenko has good relations with the Russian generals, with whom he studied at the Moscow universities. The new Ukrainian defense minister has the reputation of one of the best generals in the country because of his education (Shkidchenko graduated from three Moscow universities). Shkidchenko knows the English language, which is a very peculiar feature. He once made a report in Brussels about Ukraine’s military doctrine, and he spoke English very well. This was huge success. As it is believed, the new minister supports the accelerated reforms within Ukraine’s military. Experts say, however, that the general was hiding behind Alexander Kuzmuk for too long, so it is too early to judge his working potential. Shkidchenko has not yet given an interview while serving in a top position in the country. They say that no one knows what he is thinking.
In the meantime, Kuchma dismissed Yury Solovkov, the supervisor of the state customs committee. The minister for internal affairs and the chairman of the Security Services were dismissed long ago. Prosecutor General Mikhail Potebenko is still working, although, as newspapers write, this is not going to last long.
President Kuchma also dismissed Boris Alekseyenko from the position of the chairman of the committee for the questions of the state border. His position was taken by Nikolay Litvin, who earlier commanded the internal troops of the country. Nikolay Litvin is Vladimir Litvin’s brother: Vladimir Litvin is the head of the presidential administration, who is very active and there are opinions he may become President Kuchma’s successor.
Alexander Gorobets PRAVDA.Ru Ukraine Kiev
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2001/11/14/33800.html