Russian State Duma (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
April 6, 2007 -- The State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, has condemned Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's dissolution of parliament.
In a statement released today, the State Duma said it shared Ukrainian lawmakers' view that Yushchenko's April 2 decree to dissolve parliament and call new elections violates the country's constitution.
The Duma said the order sends "a most dangerous signal the situation may go beyond the framework of the law."
It also said Western governments and international institutions such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that judged Ukraine's parliamentary elections last year to have been free, fair and fully democratic must now stand up to Yushchenko's attempt to disband the legislature.
"We support the position of the Verkhnovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, that the [Ukrainian president's] decision to dissolve parliament was unconstitutional. There are simply no grounds for making such a decision today," State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov told reporters.
Ukraine's pro-Moscow Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his supporters in the legislature have refused to obey Yushchenko's order and have asked the Constitutional Court to rule on its legitimacy.
(Interfax, ITAR-TASS, AFP)
Demonstrators in Moscow carry a coffin with a television in it to protest government control over broadcasting (TASS file photo)
DO RUSSIANS LIKE THEIR GOVERNMENT? During a briefing at RFE/RL's Washington office on November 15, Richard Rose, director of the Center for the Study of Public Policy at the University of Aberdeen, discussed the results of 14 surveys he has conducted since 1992 on Russian public opinion about democracy and the country's development. He discussed the implications of these opinions for relations with the West and for Russia's 2008 presidential election.
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