Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 120

For the first time in 18 months, the Russian Federation has a Prosecutor General. He is 43-year-old lawyer Yuri Skuratov, who was approved on October 24 by a unanimous vote of the Federation Council. Skuratov is widely reported to have impressed the Council with his "sound knowledge of the procuracy and the issues facing it," together with his organizational abilities and principled views. (1) Skuratov made a positive impression even on Viktor Ilyukhin, a Duma committee chairman and Communist faction member, who rarely supports Boris Yeltsin’s nominees. (2) Skuratov said during his appointment hearings that he supports "evolutionary changes" in the procuracy as opposed to wrenching reforms.

Skuratov’s predecessor in the position was Aleksei Kazannik, who resigned in February, 1994. Kazannik had refused to block the Duma’s amnesty of the rebels who carried out the uprising in the Russian parliament building in October, 1993. Since Kazannik’s resignation Aleksei Ilyushenko has served as acting prosecutor-general. However Ilyushenko didn’t live up to President Yeltsin’s expectations and was dismissed earlier this month.

Skuratov received his juridical degree in 1973 in Yeltsin’s home territory of Sverdlovsk, but denied that this fact has any connection with his nomination. (3) Given Russia’s staggering problems with crime control and prevention, and if Skuratov lives up to his billing, his appointment may turn out to be one the most important political events of 1995.

Men of Conviction