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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Majority Quits Yeltsin's Rights Commission

Four members of the presidential human rights commission resigned Monday, joining their former chairman Sergei Kovalyov in condemning President Boris Yeltsin's human rights record.

A fifth member also plans to resign. The resignations leaves the commission with three members -- and its future in doubt.

In what may be its final report, the commission said human rights violations in Russia were common. Russia, they said, was retreating from the creation of a true democracy. They spared no criticism of Yeltsin, whom they blamed for tolerating human rights abuses.

Kovalyov, a former Soviet human rights champion who is a member of parliament, resigned last month, accusing Yeltsin of steering the country back to a totalitarian regime. "The president has lost the support of Russia's democratic forces and doesn't feel sorry in the least about it," he said Monday.

The commission, created by a Yeltsin decree in 1993, presented the president Monday with a report on Russia's human rights situation in 1994-95.

"We were obliged to state the lack of progress in human rights issues since 1993,'' said deputy chairmen Sergei Sirotkin. The country is becoming increasingly militarized, with an abundance of official and informal armed institutions and groups, he said.