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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin, Duma Wrangle

Boris Yeltsin on Thursday snubbed parliament by appointing a council that would compete for some of its functions, while legislators came close to granting amnesty to the alleged leaders of last year's uprising against the president.

Yeltsin's office announced it will set up a Public Chamber of the President, made up of representatives from 250 political, social and trade groups to advise him on political and social issues.

The chamber is likely to be seen as a challenge to Russia's new parliament, the Federal Assembly, and indicates that Yeltsin plans to ignore the legislature.

In the State Duma, 200 deputies voted to pardon petty criminals, the leaders of the August 1991 coup and of the violent parliament rebellion last October. Only 75 deputies voted against, but with 170 parliamentarians absent the motion failed to gain the majority required.

Likewise, the Duma on Wednesday could not reach a majority to pardon the petty criminals and coup leaders separately, but will likely return to the issue.

Despite its belligerent mood over amnesty, the Duma gave a nod to a plan by liberal Mikhail Poltoranin that offers deputies reduced media coverage, with no guarantees that the state media will grant even this limited time.

The previous parliament had allotted itself an excruciatingly boring "Parliamentary Hour" of daily television coverage. But the Duma settled for a weekly half-hour. Asked what media access the Duma had secured, Poltoranin, a former journalist, chuckled and said: "Nothing has been guaranteed."