The Duma yesterday approved a constitutional law establishing the post of human rights commissioner. Two earlier attempts to adopt such a law failed because non-Communist deputies objected to attempts by the Communist faction to ensure that their candidate would be assured of the post. This time around, the Liberal Democratic faction voted in favor, reportedly as a result of a trade-off in which Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznev, a Communist, promised LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky that the Communist faction would support Zhirinovsky’s initiative to ease economic sanctions against Libya. The law stipulates that the human rights commissioner will be appointed for five years following a secret vote of not less then two-thirds of Duma deputies in which the appointee must receive a simple majority. The commissioner will be empowered to demand information concerning alleged human rights abuses from government bodies. (Interfax, April 17)
Yeltsin Co-Opts Cossack Movement.