Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 66

Yuri Skuratov, whom President Boris Yeltsin suspended last week as Russia’s prosecutor general, will speak to the State Duma tomorrow (April 7). Skuratov said that his purpose in appearing before the Russian parliament’s lower house is to put forward his position on the presidential decree which suspended him, and on the criminal case brought against him by a deputy Moscow prosecutor late last week. Skuratov said that he was ready to “answer the questions of deputies, and to give explanations on the situation surrounding the prosecutor general’s office and its heads” (Russian agencies, April 5).

Controversy has already arisen over whether the Kremlin-inspired moves against Skuratov were legal. According to press reports over the weekend, after Skuratov sent a letter on April 2 allegedly containing the names of high-level officials and details of their Swiss bank accounts, the Kremlin summoned Moscow Deputy Prosecutor Vyacheslav Rosinsky and convinced him to initiate a criminal case against Skuratov. Yesterday, however, Sergei Gerasimov, Moscow’s chief prosecutor–and thus, obviously, an official close to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov–said that his office neither had nor has a criminal case against Skuratov (Tribuna, Vremya MN, April 6). In the meantime, the Prosecutor General’s Office’s press office confirmed that the case against Skuratov has been handed over to the Main Military Prosecutor’s office, which would also look into its legality and validity. Skuratov himself says the criminal case against him was launched with “crude violations [manipulations]” of the law. Yuri Chaika, meanwhile, is serving as acting prosecutor general (Russian agencies, April 5).

The allegations against Skuratov, which include abuse of office, involve the now-notorious tape allegedly showing him with two prostitutes. A newspaper this weekend revealed details from documents it claimed were part of the criminal case against Skuratov. The paper claimed that from late 1996 through early 1997, Skuratov repeatedly used the services of prostitutes provided for him by Unikom Bank owner Ashot Yegiazaryan and his brother, which cost at least US$100,000 (Novae izvestia, April 3). Yesterday, spokesmen for First Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Maslyukov denied media reports that Yegiazaryan is, or was ever, an adviser to Maslyukov (Russian agencies, April 5).