Yeltsin and `emergency' power

The opinion-page article ``Is Yeltsin Becoming a Dictator?'' Dec. 31, addresses the comparison of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Hitler. It rightly emphasizes the sweeping presidential powers stipulated in the Russian Constitution, but neglects the parallel of Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution, which granted broad ``emergency'' powers to the executive branch of government, including the right to disband the Reichstag. Chancellor Heinrich Bruning provided a convenient precedent for Hitler's dictatorship by exercising these powers often. We can only hope that Yeltsin will respect Russian parliamentarism in the 1990s more than Mr. Bruning did in the '30s, especially if there is any chance at all of Zhirinovsky becoming president in 1994. Philip K. Robinson, Gaithersburg, Md.

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