America Abroad: Russia v. Gorbachev

Russia v. Gorbachev

EARLIER THIS MONTH, IT LOOKED AS THOUGH MIKHAIL Gorbachev had gone from being the new Russia's most famous and privileged private citizen to being its first refusenik, deprived of his right to travel. Then, late last week, he was allowed to fly to Germany for Willy Brandt's funeral. But he remains in trouble back home.

The proximate cause, as a lawyer might say, is his defiance of Russia's highest judicial authority, the Constitutional Court. But the case is much broader: it pits Gorbachev against his protege-turned-riva l-turned-successor, Boris Yeltsin; it reveals the primitive, confused nature of legality in a country that...

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