MOSCOW, JULY 18 -- Soviet Defense Minister Dimitri Yazov, in the job for seven weeks, has said in his first public speech that military leaders still have not taken measures needed to wipe out "negative tendencies" in the armed forces.
Speaking at a Communist Party meeting at the Defense Ministry, Yazov said that "restructuring" now under way in the Soviet Union has "not yet fully touched the political command personnel, including the central apparatus."
"We must face the truth -- some of us have lost our sense of duty and responsibility for carrying out obligations," he said, according to excerpts carried in today's edition of Krasnya Zvezda, the newspaper of the Soviet armed forces.
The frank tone at the meeting and Yazov's own appraisal of the shortcomings in the officer corps are further signs of the continuing shakeup in the military set off by the May 28 landing in Red Square of a small, private West German airplane.
The surprise landing of a Cessna by 19-year-old Mathias Rust, still held in a Soviet prison, prompted the sudden retirement of defense minister Sergei Sokolov. He was replaced by Yazov, who last month was made a candidate member of the Politburo.
Yazov stressed the "necessity to put into practice the party's newly worked out military doctrine," noting that it presented a new look on "military construction and the problems of warding off war."
Other speakers at the gathering reportedly noted that drunkenness and lack of discipline were still "severe" problems in the military, and chided those who boasted that these issues had been solved.
They also called for greater openness within the military, noting that too often subjects had been considered beyond criticism on the pretext of the special conditions of the military.