While on a visit to Germany, Federation Council chairman Vladimir Shumeiko lost no time in attacking the Duma´s bill on the composition of the upper house, which had been passed earlier that day. The bill stipulates that heads of legislative and executive bodies from the federation´s constituent republics and regions are to be elected to the Federation Council, and that the heads of executive bodies must be elected to their posts by popular vote. Shumeiko counters that neither the president, the Duma, or any other authority has the right to prescribe to the federation´s constituent territories when or how to choose their leaders and whom to delegate to the Federation Council. To do so would be "a gross violation of the inalienable rights of the federation´s constituent units." (6)
The Duma´s bill, if enacted, would force the holding of elections for heads of the executive bodies in the republics and regions. The Duma´s hard-line majority must feel that such elections at this time would return like-minded elements to power in the regions. Boris Yeltsin, on the other hand, has used his presidential powers to block such elections and appoint loyalists as heads of administrations in many regions. The Duma´s and Shumeiko´s respective arguments are equally instrumental: the former would use a democratic mechanism hoping to bring undemocratic groups to power, while the latter invokes regional autonomy to protect the tenure of Yeltsin´s loyalists, one of whom is Shumeiko himself.
Energy Crisis Looms, Duma Proposes Socialist Cure.