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Duma’s ethics commission advises opposition politician to lay down the legislator’s mandat

March 20, 2013, 18:19 UTC+3

Dmitry Gudkov, earlier expelled from A Just Russia, confirmed again that he had no intention of quitting his seat in the State Duma

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MOSCOW, March 20 (Itar-Tass) – Russia’s State Duma committee for ethics had advised the lower house of parliament to strip the lower house’s member from the A Just Russia party, Dmitry Gudkov, of the right to address the audience for thirty days, as well as to present apologies and voluntarily hand in one’s mandate for “repeated abuse of ethics and for discrediting the Russian parliament.” The decision was made unanimously, the commissions’ acting chief, Andrei Andreyev, told the media.

He also added that there were no representatives of the A Just Russia faction at the commission’s meeting. They presented powers of attorney.

“I had those powers of attorney at my disposal, but I did not use them,” Andreyev told the media.

He explained that the commission’s recommendation was now to be approved by the State Duma. Andreyev speculated that the issue might be considered in April. He pointed out that that concerned only that part of the resolution that concerned Gudkov’s right to speak at full-scale sessions.

“As of the moment the appropriate resolution has been made Gudkov will be stripped of the right to address the lower house for one month,” the legislator said.

He remarked that the invitation to present apologies in public and the advice to lay down the legislator’s mandate were the “moral aspect of the committee’s resolution.”

In the meantime, Dmitry Gudkov, earlier expelled from A Just Russia, confirmed again that he had no intention of quitting his seat in the State Duma.

“This is a third resolution by the commission urging me to quit my seat. My reply to them is as usual: “Ladies and gentlemen of United Russia, only after you,” Gudkov told the media after the ethics commission decision.

Asked about the possibility he may be stripped of the right to address the lower house, Gudkov replied “this will not work.”

“I have had a call from Ilya Ponomaryov, who told me that he would narrate everything that I would like to say. He would be speaking on my behalf,” Gudkov said.

Wednesday’s decision was made at the request of representatives of all four Duma factions in connection with his trip to the United States.

In their request the representatives of all four factions, Sergey Zheleznyak (United Russia), Igor Lebedev (LDPR), Oleg Denisenko (CPRF) and Svetlana Goryacheva (A Just Russia) complained against Gudkov to the ethics commission. The deputies asked it “to assess Dmitry Gudkov’s behavior during his trip to the U.S., when he delivered a speech at a Freedom House forum on March 5, 2013. Some members of the U.S. Senate, including James McGovern, the author of the anti-Russian Magnitsky Act, were in the audience.”

The request described Gudkov’s report as “harshly- worded and anti-Russian and aimed at discrediting our country.” Particularly, the four Duma members mentioned Gudkov's claims the State Duma was “an obedient parliament” adopting “anti-constitutional bills”, and his statements in support of the Magnitsky Act, as well as the request for U.S. support in tackling problems inside Russia.

“We believe that Gudkov’s statements are tantamount to calls for illegal acts impinging on Russian sovereignty. Gudkov’s conduct demonstrates his disrespect for the requirements mandatory for the members of the Russian parliament, a planned campaign against Russian statehood and, in fact, betrayal of national interests, while a State Duma member's duty is to defend the interests of his country and voters."


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