President Boris Yeltsin said yesterday that he will obey the ruling of Russia’s Constitutional Court and sign into law a controversial bill aimed at preventing the repatriation of artworks seized by Soviet troops at the end of the World War II. Yeltsin said he remained convinced that the measure contravenes international law. The law, he said, will make it harder for Russia to reclaim its own artwork currently in foreign countries. "But," he said, "the Constitutional Court has ruled, and there is nothing more that one can do." (Itar-Tass, April 7)
The Court concluded that Yeltsin acted unconstitutionally last year when he refused to sign into law a bill approved by both houses of the Russian parliament by majorities large enough to override an earlier presidential veto. The Court expressed no opinion on the merits of the bill itself, but observed that its ruling did not rule out the possibility of an appeal by the president to the Constitutional Court against the bill. Yeltsin’s spokesman, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, said yesterday that the president may well challenge the law. Yeltsin’s grounds: It violates international law and therefore the Russian constitution, which recognizes the supremacy of international law. (RIA Novosti, April 7)
Ukrainian Economic Policy Uncertain After Elections.