Alexander LebedCommentary by Pete du Pont
December 23, 1996
Host intro: Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis recently interview Russian general and politician Alexander Lebed for his on-line magazine intellectual capital.com. Here's his report.
The uniform's gone, the attitude isn't. He's authoritarian but anti-Communist. As president of Russia his first act would be a powerful blow against organized crime.
He has a plan for Russia.
First, nationalism. He says Russia has great natural resources and 150 million smart people. Everything's in place for a great country that isn't great yet.
Second, he'd attack the vast criminal conspiracy he says rules Russia today. With actual criminals he lumps holdover Stalinists he says have made Russia a country of thieves.
Finally, he'd wipe out the Communist legacy. Russia survived social experiments that cost suffering and lives.
He's also no slouch as a politician either, because when you combine the nationalism, authoritarianism, anti-Communism and anti-crime programs; then throw in support for property rights, pensions, health programs and, a market economy, the presidency doesn't seem out of reach.
He may not cater to the western press, but his 15 percent of the vote in the last election will be a springboard to the elections in 2000 - in a Russia which could easily be as chaotic and unsettled as it is now. Lebed could be the man who rights the ship.
Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: Tomorrow, Pete du Pont has a battle plan for a group you might not even have thought was armed.