The General in his labyrinth
Slovak Army Chief of Staff Jozef Tuchyňa stepped down on September 9, after weeks of crisis and then confusion in the highest ranks of the military. Arriving red-faced and garrulous, and 90 minutes late, to a Bratislava press conference to discuss the occasion, Tuchyňa delivered himself of these words:
"I stepped down from my position, but I was not legally dismissed, and I still have to wait for that. If [Tuchyňa replacement Marián] Mikluš has access to top secret materials, then I will take the Defence Minister and the people that gave Mikluš access to the secret materials to court, because he does not have a right to act as Army Chief of Staff and have access to top secret materials ."
The Slovak public has given General Tuchyňa a good deal of rope in the past few weeks. Tuchyňa had originally asked to be released from the post in early July, when he decided to stand as a candidate in Sptember's elections for the opposition SDĽ party. When Vladimír Mečiar and the HZDS used the opportunity to stick their own man in the post, albeit through unorthodox means, Tuchyňa refused to leave, and accused the HZDS of seeking to get at him because he had sided with an opposition party.
The time has now come to add up the cost of Tuchyňa's obstinacy. The country has been without a clear military leader for a month. Unpleasant and often foolish words have been exchanged regarding a supposed Army putsch. More importantly, many trees have been felled to create the yards of newsprint that has been devoted to the whole sorry story.
General Tuchyňa again: "If I was on the candidates list for Premier Vladimír Mečiar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, I would still be the Army Chief of Staff. But because I am running for the SDĽ, I have to leave."
Bearing in mind that this is the man who wanted to leave in the first place, it would seem that General Tuchyňa has had a little too much access to top secret materials himself.
14. Sep 1998 at 0:00