Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 124

On October 11, the Duma passed a bill which requires that the heads of administration in Russia’s constituent regions, who at present are ex-officio members of the Federation Council, be elected by popular vote. On October 25, the Federation Council vetoed that bill. On October 27, the Duma voted to override the Federation Council’s veto. On the same day, Federation Council chairman Vladimir Shumeiko issued in response a counterproposal which would leave the mechanism of choosing representatives to the Federation Council up to the individual regions; and would give the President of Russia the right to appoint five additional Federation Council members to represent the federal bodies of executive power. (3)

Most regional heads of administration are appointees of Boris Yeltsin, who has exercised his presidential powers to delay elections indefinitely to that post in most regions. Because the regional heads sit in the Federation Council, the system makes for an upper chamber largely loyal to the president who, in turn, uses it as a counterweight to the opposition-dominated lower chamber. Those appointees, and Yeltsin’s ally Shumeiko, are trying to perpetuate that system. Shumeiko’s counterproposal would also blur the separation of powers by introducing executive officials into the upper legislative house. The Duma’s majority for its part seeks to undermine presidential influence on the regional administrations, particularly with an eye to the presidential elections scheduled for June 1996. The 8-month term stipulated by the Duma for holding regional elections could make those elections simultaneous with the presidential one. But as the December 1995 legislative election approaches, the present Duma is running out of time for fighting Yeltsin on this issue.

Chechnya: Russian Force Gives Up Vedeno.