MOSCOW, January 10 (Itar-Tass) — A campaign launched by Novaya Gazeta daily which has collected 100,000 signatures of the protesters demanding to disband the State Duma " is purely a PR action," Head of the Duma Committee on the Regulation and Procedural Organization Sergei Popov told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
He said early termination of the State Duma's powers "on the initiative of 100,000 citizens" was impossible. The Duma might be dissolved only in cases stipulated by the Russian Constitution, for instance, if the Duma turns down a candidate, nominated by the president as the prime minister, three times, Popov said.
He drew attention to the fact that more than 130,000 voters in Russia had voted for each of the Duma deputies, while the whole Duma in office now had been elected by around 60 million compatriots. "Therefore, the initiative to disband the Duma is purely a PR action. Simply a certain newspaper has declared a war in revenge" Popov said.
Popov has dismissed as unsubstantial the arguments that Novaya Gazeta has been following Putin's lead who declared a possibility of considering legislative initiatives on the basis of 100,000 citizens' signatures. "A bill regulating this procedure will be developed," Popov confirmed. "But it is not the matter of a legislative initiative in this case. This proposal has an obvious "minus," Popov added.
Duma Vice-Speaker Sergei Neverov, who is Secretary of the United Russia General Council, has confirmed in an interview with Itar-Tass that the State Duma is prepared to study public initiatives. Neverov reminded of the fact that it was President Putin's initiative who suggested that the State Duma should study the initiatives backed by 100,000 citizens' signatures." "The State Duma will study such initiatives," Neverov confirmed. The Duma Committee on the Regulation has been specifying the norms which stipulate the order of discussing such appeals," Neverov said. He did not say when a bill to specify a mechanism of discussing such citizens' appeals might be passed.
Last February Vladimir Putin an in interview to Kommersant newspaper suggested making compulsory a discussion of public initiatives which gain more than 100,000 signatures in their support on the Internet. Putin reminded of a similar practice which exists in Great Britain. "Naturally, the anonymous Internet will not do here, although in other cases this might help elicit the society's attitude," Putin said. " One should establish the order of official registration of those who want to be a participant in a such a system," Putin said then.
Last December a journalist of Novaya Gazeta, Diana Khachatryan, declared at a big press conference held by Vladimir Putin that Novaya Gazeta within a few days had collected more than 100,000 signature against the Duma initiative to adopt the notorious Anti-adoptions bill. "I think the Duma should study the matter," Putin told the press conference.
Incidentally, on Wednesday Novaya Gazeta has collected more than 100,000 signatures in support of another public initiative – to disband the State Duma, but it was not known yet whether these signatures were turned over to the Duma.