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U.S. Says Kovalyev's Resignation Means Trouble

Washington, Jan. 25 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department says the resignation of Russia's leading human rights advocate, Sergei Kovalyev, is another sign of trouble for reform in Russia.

Kovalyev, a parliamentary deputy, resigned Tuesday as chairman of Russia's Human Rights Commission and as a member of President Boris Yeltsin's Advisory Council. In his resignation letter, Kovalyev accused Yeltsin of moving away from a commitment to the rule of law in a democratic society. He said the way Russia dealt with the recent hostage crisis in Dagestan demonstrates a "complete neglect of human life."

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the resignation is, in his words, "another indication that these are troubled times for Russian reform."