BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 17:43 GMT
Yeltsin 'not immune from prosecution'
Vladimir Putin and Boris Yeltsin
Putin issued a decree giving Yeltsin immunity
By Russian affairs analyst Stephen Dalziel

The lower house of the Russian parliament has voted to remove the immunity from prosecution given to former President Boris Yeltsin.

The immunity guarantee, which was extended to Mr Yeltsin's family, appeared to have been agreed between Mr Yeltsin and his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin.

But the State Duma has now backed a bill which says members of the Yeltsin family could face prosecution if parliament first agrees to strip them of their immunity.

When Boris Yeltsin stepped down as Russian President six months before his term was up, it seemed that he was encouraged to do so by the knowledge that he and his family would be granted immunity from prosecution for life.

Russian soldier
Some deputies accuse Yeltsin of destroying the Russian army
The first move carried out by Mr Putin as acting President was to issue a decree, on 31 December 1999, on permanent immunity for former presidents and their families.

This was crucial for Mr Yeltsin. During his second term in office, parliament had come close to having him impeached, charging him with causing the break-up of the Soviet Union, the impoverishment of the population and the destruction of the army.

More specifically, Communist deputies alleged that the shelling by tanks of parliament in 1993, and the starting of the war in Chechnya a year later were criminal acts for which Mr Yeltsin was to blame.

And Mr Yeltsin's family were also mired in rumours about questionable financial deals.

The bill has to have a final reading in the Duma, and then be approved by the upper house, the Federation Council.

To become law, it would then need the president's signature, and Mr Putin may well decide that good relations with parliament are more important than the support of his predecessor.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

19 Jan 01 | Europe
Yeltsin aide held in US jail
08 Oct 00 | Europe
Yeltsin: My guilt over Chechnya
15 Jan 01 | Europe
Timeline: Russia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories