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Institutions and Political Change in Russia by Neil Robinson (eds.)

By Neil Robinson (eds.)

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The President can The Presidency 27 veto legislation from the Duma and the Federation Council; to overcome a veto the Duma and the Council have to muster twothirds support for a vetoed bill. Presidential power is reinforced by the fact that it is extremely difficult to change the Constitution, and there are few checks on it. Changes to those articles of the Constitution that define the division of power and the rights of the presidency and parliament have to be approved by three-quarters of the members of the Federation Council and two-thirds of the State Duma’s deputies.

A few days later Chubais and four officials close to him were accused of corruption for taking a book advance from an Oneksimbank company (Nezavisimaya gazeta, 13 November 1997). The three officials lost their posts and Chubais lost control of the Ministry of Finance (Kommersant-Daily, 20 November 1997). The immediate effect of the ‘bank wars’ was a change in the balance of power. Yeltsin was forced to try to alleviate some of the political damage from the ‘bank wars’ by widening political support for the government.

Yeltsin’s position was further threatened in two ways in early 1999. A deal between the government and Duma was mooted that would have led to his political retirement. When hopes for the deal faded, the Duma moved towards impeaching Yeltsin on a series of charges; at least one of the accusations against him, on the criminality of the Chechen war, appeared to stand some chance of obtaining the support of two-thirds of the Duma’s deputies so that impeachment proceedings could begin. Yeltsin’s reaction was typical.

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