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Russian Lawmaker Found Dead

July 3, 1998

MOSCOW (AP) _ A retired general and leading Boris Yeltsin opponent in Parliament 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.

Rokhlin’s wife Tamara, 48, told police that she had a ``hostile relationship″ with her husband and that she used his personal handgun to shoot him as he lay sleeping, Melnik said.

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

The shooting followed a Thursday night party to celebrate the birthday of the couple’s 13-year-old son, but it was not clear if there was any connection.

Rokhlin, 51, commanded Russian troops at the beginning of the 1994-96 war in Chechnya. The general was one of the few Russian officers to win high praise for their 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 support among current and former Russian servicemen upset by the military’s decline in recent years. However, the extent of Rokhlin’s following remained unclear.

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

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