An irritable President Boris Yeltsin has expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Constitutional Court, in particular, its slowness in delivering judgments. Yeltsin was especially infuriated by the Court’s ruling in April this year that he must sign into law legislation that seeks to rule out the return of artworks seized by the Soviet Army at the end of World War Two. Yeltsin tore a strip off Constitutional Court Chairman Marat Baglai when the two men met in the Kremlin on June 2. Yeltsin went on to urge Baglai to use his influence to expand the network of constitutional courts in Russia’s regions. Only thirteen of Russia’s eighty-nine constituent regions and republics have so far set up constitutional courts of their own. Yeltsin wants more regions to follow their example to “promote federalism”– shorthand for disciplining the many regional legislatures that have passed local laws that, in the Kremlin’s view, violates federal legislation. (Moskovsky komsomolets, June 3)
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