Sergei Kovalev resigned yesterday as head of the Russian presidential human rights commission, saying he could no longer work with president Yeltsin. Kovalev said Yeltsin had abandoned the path of democratic reform. Over the past year Kovalev has earned the enmity of hard-liners in all branches of government for his protests against human rights abuses committed by federal authorities in Chechnya. The Kremlin has made several attempts in recent months to rein in his activities. In a statement released yesterday, Kovalev called on the Council of Europe to admit Russia as a member only if strict conditions were imposed. Kovalev, who was imprisoned for human rights activities during the Soviet period, was re-elected to the Duma last month. An aide said yesterday that Kovalev was determined not to support Yeltsin’s presidential candidacy, "even if his rivals were Zyuganov or Zhirinovsky." She quoted Kovalev as saying that "the political aims of all of these candidates are equally hostile to humanitarian and legal values accepted within the democratic community." (1)
Former Politburo Member to Head Federation Council.