Decked out in his green general's uniform, Lev Rokhlin told his nascent political movement Saturday that he had one overriding goal: the resignation of President Boris Yeltsin.

"As long as Yeltsin is in power, Russia will be dying!" Rokhlin bellowed, as a packed hall of more than 1,000 Communists, nationalists, veterans, Cossacks and other anti-government delegates cheered.Rokhlin, a decorated veteran of the Chechen and Afghan wars and chairman of the Parliament's Defense Committee, has a clear, though ambitious, strategy: to tap the sullen discontent within the Russian military and transform the armed forces into a potent political force.

He is not alone. His allies include former ranking officials who were dismissed by Yeltsin and who are now intent on evening the score.

This is not the best of times for Yeltsin's opponents. The 66-year-old president has recovered his health and his fighting spirit. He has put young reformers in charge of economic policy. Thursday, Yeltsin even ventured into the Communist stronghold of Oryol - the province where Zyuganov was born - to deliver his message that the provinces will soon see better times.

Furthermore, beating the nationalist drum has not always been a successful tactic.