Academician Sergei Alekseev, a jurist who drafted parts of Russia’s 1993 constitution, has resigned from Yeltsin’s presidential council in protest over the conduct of the war in Chechnya. His resignation makes him the fourth person to leave the 28-member advisory body within the past week, following Sergei Kovalev, Yegor Gaidar, and Otto Latsis. Presidential press secretary Sergei Medvedev dismissed the exodus, saying the four men had long ago ceased to play an active role in council activities. "What happened de facto is happening de jure," said Medvedev. (1)
According to Latsis, whose letter of resignation was published last week in the newspaper Izvestiya, the Council hardly ever met. (2) Sergei Kovalev, interviewed yesterday on Russia’s Independent Television (NTV), said Yeltsin had not summoned a plenary session of the Council for a year and doubted whether the body ever had any real influence. Kovalev said he had resigned because there had been "a sharp change of direction [in Russia]… Not toward democratization, but toward the strengthening of the state–and the state in the Asiatic understanding of the word, where the state is viewed as something superhuman, the supreme form of development."
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