Yeltsin’s chief of staff Sergei Filatov told journalists last week that Sergei Kovalev’s activities had "slowed down" recently and that the question of reorganizing the Human Rights Commission was therefore on the agenda. (6) A Russian presidential decree of December 30 then subordinated the commission, headed by Kovalev, to the presidential administration’s citizen complaint department. Ostensibly aimed at improving the commission’s work, the decision downgrades the commission and limits its political independence. (7) Kovalev, who was reelected to the Duma last month, has won the enmity of powerful figure in both the government and the opposition due to his outspoken denunciation of human rights abuses, particularly in Chechnya. He resisted attempts to bring his office under tighter state control last fall, when he protested that the human rights commissioner must retain a measure of independence to do his job effectively.
Regions Engage in Hard Bargaining with Center.