Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 90

The chairman of the Russian supreme court, Vladimir Tumanov, stated that the law on the formation of the upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, will most likely be declared unconstitutional. President Boris Yeltsin objected to the law, already passed by both houses of the parliament, on the grounds that it violates the Russian constitution. The constitution indeed refers to the "formation" and not the "election" of the body from representatives of the legislative or executive branches of every constituent member of the Russian Federation. But the constitution fails to define the mechanism of this formation, which permits Yeltsin and his supporters to maintain that the Council’s members must be selected from the ranks of the regional administrators, who are appointed by Yeltsin.

In practical terms, the implementation of the procedure favored by Yeltsin would give him full control over the upper house of the Russian parliament. This would also be in keeping with a tradition which existed in pre-Revolutionary Russia, under which the upper house, the State Council, was also appointed by the Russian Tsar. The present members of the Federation Council, many of whom are not Yeltsin appointees, prefer to run in the general election. The fact that the supreme court chairman has now taken Yeltsin’s side may decide the controversy in Yeltsin’s favor. Tumanov’s position, in turn, might be explained by the fact that he remembers what happened to his predecessor, the first chairman of the Russian constitutional court Valery Zorkin, who went against Yeltsin’s will and eventually lost all his position and privilege. 9

Ukraine Bans Ultranationalist Group.