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CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
e-mail: mary-geraghty@uiowa.edu

Release: Immediate

Media Advisory

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin is facing widespread criticism for his role in his country's economic turmoil, and some news reports have indicated that Yeltsin has signed an official resignation. Several University of Iowa experts are available to speak about the Yeltsin government and discuss the crisis from political, historical, and legal perspectives. Their names and phone numbers are listed below.

Russian politics

Vicki Hesli, associate professor of political science, is an expert in comparative politics and political institutions in post-communist countries, including Russia. She notes that if Yeltsin does in fact resign, it would be unprecedented in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union from the days of the Czars until today. Hesli can be reached at (319) 335-2356.

Arthur Miller, professor of political science, is an expert in political behavior and has studied democratization and political change in post-Soviet societies. He can be reached at (319) 335-2367.

Russian History

Steve Hoch, professor of history and director of the UI Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, can put the current crisis in historical context and discuss what will be the immediate and long-term effects of a breakdown of the Yeltsin government. He notes that a Yeltsin resignation "is not a good sign for the continuity of reform." Hoch can be reached at home at (319) 337-7485.

Russian constitutional law and process

John Reitz, professor of law, is an expert on comparative legal systems and has visited Russia several times in the past few years to conduct research. Reitz (pronounced "rites") says the current Russian constitution - dubbed the "Yeltsin constitution" - gives the president of the country broad powers to make appointments and carry out policies. While the system gives the president a lot of political power, the president also bears much of the political responsibility for the workings of government, Reitz says. He can be reached at (319) 335-9086.

8/27/98