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Lawmaker in Russia Found Shot to Death

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A retired general and leading parliamentary opponent of Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin was found dead at his country residence Friday, and his wife confessed to the killing, officials said.

Lev Rokhlin, once head of parliament’s defense committee, was found in his bed with a gunshot wound to the head at his dacha near Naro-Fominsk, 40 miles southwest of Moscow, said Col. Gennady Melnik, spokesman for Moscow regional police.

Tamara Rokhlin, 48, told police that she had a “hostile relationship” with her husband and that she used his personal handgun to shoot him as he was sleeping, Melnik said.

She then notified one of the dacha’s guards, who alerted police. After her confession, she was arrested and taken into custody, Melnik said.

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The shooting followed a Thursday night party to celebrate the birthday of the couple’s 13-year-old son, but it was unclear if there was any connection.

Rokhlin, 51, commanded Russian troops at the beginning of the 1994-96 war in Chechnya, a separatist republic in southern Russia. The general was one of the few Russian officers to win high praise for his performance in the conflict, which resulted in an embarrassing defeat for the Russian forces.

After leaving the military, Rokhlin won election to parliament in 1995 as a member of a faction that supported Yeltsin.

But Rokhlin grew disenchanted with Yeltsin’s plans for military reform and last year launched the Movement in Support of the Army, an anti-Yeltsin organization that drew backing among current and former Russian service personnel upset by the military’s decline in recent years. However, the extent of Rokhlin’s following remained unclear.

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Police believe that the killing was unconnected to Rokhlin’s political work, Melnik said. Still, Yeltsin ordered a full investigation.


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