GIVING THE BIG KISS-OFF

YELTSIN HAS ALL BUT LOST HIS MILITARY'S SUPPORT. TO GET IT BACK, HE MAY HAVE TO FIRE HIS DEFENSE MINISTER

The group of elite officers at the Russian Ministry of Defense had cooked up a plan out of profound frustration. According to one colonel, they first intended to intercept President Boris Yeltsin's motorcade as it traveled to the Kremlin along Znamenka Street, where their headquarters is located. Then, with Yeltsin trapped, they would demand their salaries, which had not been paid for several months, and tell him "to his face what we think about how he has destroyed the armed forces," as the colonel put it.

The officers never carried out the plot, believing Yeltsin's bodyguards would mow them down even...

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