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Hard-Line Colonel Plans to Resign from Army

February 25, 1992

MOSCOW (AP) _ Col. Viktor Alksnis, one of the so-called ″Black Colonels″ who supported last August’s failed coup, said today he is quitting the Soviet army.

″It’s true. I have taken the decision to leave the Soviet army,″ Alksnis said by telephone from his home in Riga, Latvia.

Alksnis maintained Marshal Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, head the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States, wanted to ″get rid″ of him.

But a spokesman for the Defense Ministry in Moscow, who declined to be identified by name, denied there had been any pressure on Alksnis to leave the military. The spokesman said no order had been signed releasing him from duty.

″The formal decision hasn’t been taken. But I am going to send my letter of resignation this week,″ Alksnis said.

Alksnis was a member of the hard-line Soyuz faction of the Soviet parliament, which was dissolved in December. He also was part of a group of military officers known as the ″Black Colonels″ who opposed dismantling the Soviet state and supported the August coup against Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

An ethnic Latvian, Alksnis recently has stepped up his involvement with anti-Communist nationalist movements. He also was among 7,000 participants in a rally that turned violent Sunday opposing the democratic and free market policies of the Russian government.

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