CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
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.
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.
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.