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Russian lawmakers strip colleague of right to speak at next nine sessions

April 09, 2013, 18:09 UTC+3
Opposition lawmaker Gudkov was disciplined for "gross and insulting remarks" damaging the honor and dignity of the State Duma
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MOSCOW, April 9 (Itar-Tass) - The State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament on Tuesday stripped A Just Russia deputy Dmitry Gudkov of the right to speak at the next nine sessions.

Gudkov was disciplined for "gross and insulting remarks" damaging the honor and dignity of the State Duma, as well as for the actions showing obvious contempt of the Federal Assembly, following the recommendations of the house commission for ethics.

Back on March 20, the commission considered stripping Gudkov of the right to speak at plenary sessions for a month /which now requires approval by the lower house/, and offered him to publicly apologize and give up his mandate. The decision followed an inquiry by representatives of all the four parliament factions in connection with Gudkov's trip to the United States.

Four parliament factions sought to "assess Gudkov's actions in connection with his U.S. trip and his speech on March 5, 2013 at the Freedom House forum, in which U.S. senators took part, including the author of the anti-Russian Magnitsky law James McGovern."

They quoted from the report which they believe was very anti-Russian, "aimed at discrediting our country." For example, the State Duma was called "an obedient parliament" that adopted anti-constitutional laws. The report backed the Magnitsky Act and asked for U.S. support in resolving Russia’s domestic problems.

"We believe lawmaker D.Gudkov's statements call for illegal actions which violate the sovereignty of the Russian state. All the actions by lawmaker Gudkov show his contempt for the requirements set for members of the Russian parliament; they are planned actions against Russian statehood and in effect, are treachery of national interests, whereas a State Duma deputy must protect the interests of his country and voters," Gudkov's opponents said.

A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov chastised Gudkov for not informing his faction about the trip.

Gudkov, indignant at the parliament's Tuesday decision said "there were no reasons" to slap a speech ban on him. Taking the floor before the house vote, he expressed bewilderment at the parliaments' reaction, claiming that his visit to the USA concerned cooperation with the U.S. Congress in child adoption issues.

Gudkov said he decided to use the final opportunity and urged the State Duma to cancel the Dima Yakovlev law and annul the ban on the adoption of Russian children by Americans.

He said he had submitted the relevant bill with his colleague Ilya Ponoparyov.

"Aren't you interested in my trip to the USA? They tell us there is no access to Russian children in U.S. families - it is absolutely not so! Americans have adopted 60,000 Russian children in two decades, and there have been just 20 tragic cases. Over the same period, adoption by Russians has decreased by 30 percent,"Gudkov said.

However, the house committee for constitutional legislation and state development turned down the Gudkov-Ponomaryov bill.

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