The Russian Duma is today discussing nominations for the post of Russian federal human rights commissioner, an appointment that is to be made for the first time following a two-year break. Respected human rights activist Sergei Kovalev was appointed to the post by the Duma in January 1994 but annoyed parliamentarians so much with his criticism of Russia’s conduct of the war in Chechnya that, fourteen months later, the Duma got rid him and abolished the office. One month ago, the Duma adopted a constitutional law reestablishing the post. Under that law, the human rights commissioner is appointed by parliament by majority vote for a five-year term. Nominations may be submitted to the Duma by the Russian president, the upper house of parliament, individual members of parliament, and parliamentary factions.
Several nominations have been made. President Boris Yeltsin has nominated Deputy Justice Minister Lyudmila Zavadskaya. Oleg Mironov has been nominated by the Communist faction, the Agrarian faction has nominated the respected opposition jurist Vladimir Isakov, and the Liberal Democratic faction has proposed Viktor Vishnyakov. The pro-government "Russia is Our Home" faction is expected to nominate Venyamin Yakovlev, chairman of the Supreme Court of Arbitration. The Yabloko and Russian Regions factions have not yet announced their nominees. (Itar-Tass, April 3)
Russians Do Not Trust the Police or the Courts.