Putin's Artful Jurisprudence

Russia's legal reforms centralized power and allowed the creation of informal rules that ensure elite loyalty.

Issue: Jan-Feb 2013

AT 8:00 P.M., Moscow time, on September 21, 1993, Russian president Boris Yeltsin read out an emergency decree on national television. Blaming Russian parliamentary leaders for ignoring the will of the Russian people, Yeltsin abolished the existing constitution and disbanded every legislative assembly in Russia. Russian parliamentary leaders immediately called an emergency session and removed Yeltsin for treason. They named his vice president, Alexander Rutskoi, acting president. The Russian Constitutional Court chairman, Valery Zorkin, then appeared before Parliament and reported that a majority of the court had found Yeltsin’s decree unconstitutional. Russia now had two presidents.

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