The Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, held the first session of its anticorruption commission, which was recently formed in the wake of the scandals surrounding Yuri Skuratov, whom Boris Yeltsin suspended as Russia’s prosecutor general in early April. It is holiday season in Russia; May Day and Victory Day (May 9) are official holidays. Many of the regional leaders who sit in the council did therefore not make it to the commission’s session, which was held behind closed doors. It was, however, attended by Andrei Logonov, who heads the Kremlin administration’s domestic politics department, and Skuratov himself (Kommersant, May 7).
Those Federation Council members who did show up for yesterday’s session reportedly continued to support Skuratov, who has protested the decision earlier this week by acting Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika to remove Deputy Prosecutor General Mikhail Katyshev, a close ally of Skuratov, from the investigations involving high-profile corruption cases. Skuratov reportedly complained about this decision during yesterday’s session (Russian agencies, May 7).
It was Katyshev who sanctioned the arrest orders for the tycoons Boris Berezovsky and Aleksandr Smolensky (Berezovsky’s was later rescinded) and the searches of premises and businesses belonging to advertising mogul Sergei Lisovsky (Moskovsky komsomolets, May 7).
Oleg Korolev, who heads the commission, said after its inaugural session yesterday that as long as a definitive decision has not been made concerning Skuratov’s fate, “personnel changes in the Prosecutor General’s Office are inadvisable.” On the other hand, the Council members were apparently disappointed yesterday that Skuratov did not, as predicted and hoped for, bring to yesterday’s session his one possible trump card vis-a-vis the Kremlin–evidence of corruption among high-level officials and other VIPs, including Yeltsin’s inner circle (Kommersant, May 7).
FEDERATION COUNCIL REPORTEDLY LOOKS FOR WAY OUT OF SKURATOV MESS.