From an interview with Boris Yeltsin in the Jan. 21 edition of the Soviet weekly newspaper Argumenty i Fakty:

Q. Judging by your statement at a session of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet, you intend to create a Russian army. How does this conform with the constitution of the U.S.S.R.?

A. First of all, no such decision has been taken. ... Therefore, it is wrong to talk about any unconstitutional actions on our part.

Second, I said that we must look for ways of defending our sovereignty. This, above all, calls for the creation of our own security agencies, and the Russian parliament has already adopted such a decision. And secondly, we should, perhaps, think about our own army ... because it is hard to predict the development of events in the republic and, for that matter, in the union in general after such actions by the center. ...

Q. Your appeal to soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers recruited in Russia and sent to the Baltic region has produced much controversy. It is alleged that you have virtually told them not to obey orders from their commanders. And this is nothing short of mutiny and sedition.

A. This is a blatant lie: I did not say anything of the kind. What I did say was: "Before you go to storm civilian installations on Baltic soil, remember about your own home, about the present and the future of your republic and your own people. Violation of law, violence over the people of the Baltics will beget new serious crisis phenomena in Russia herself and will also affect Russian people living in other republics. ..." Incidentally, we have adopted a law whereby our conscripts cannot be used in other republics, including the Baltic republics.