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Duma skeptical about idea to ban foreign trips for senior officials

April 01, 2013, 16:28 UTC+3

The sphere of classified information is regulated fairly well today, the head of a Duma parliamentarian group, Mikhail Starshinov from United Russia, said

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MOSCOW, April 1 (Itar-Tass) – The initiative to ban foreign trips for senior government officials having access to strategic information may be supported emotionally, but the sphere of classified information is regulated fairly well today, the head of a Duma parliamentarian group, Mikhail Starshinov from United Russia, said on Monday commenting on an article by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

“Assessing this initiative from the point of view of political conjuncture, I admit it may be supported among the population, first of all emotionally,” said the head of the group for cooperation of civil society institutions with law enforcement agencies.

“Particularly it may be in demand within the context of a continuing campaign for making the image of a state official synonymous with a bribe-taker and a scoundrel,” he said.

“Against the background of this fanning of passions, any proposals of new bans or restrictions for officials will be supported with ‘it serves them right,” he stressed. “However, assessing the developments soberly, I believe the sphere of protection of state secrets is regulated well enough at the moment,” Starshinov stressed.

He confirmed the existence of “a clear and precise system of access, as well as restrictions as to the access to information and trips abroad”. “The Federal Security Service is responsible for that, and it works out all necessary legislative instruments. That is why I don’t see any reasons for bringing its competency into question,” the deputy said.

“Nevertheless, the offer of Kadyrov deserves attention, the question is only whether mechanisms for its implementation must be discussed,” he summed up.

In an article in the Izvestia daily on Monday, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov proposed banning foreign trips for senior government officials.

As one of the examples, he cited mystery surrounding the death of Boris Berezovsky, who was deputy secretary of the country’s Security Council in the mid 1990s. One can only deplore, guessing what secrets could have got into the hands of coroners, and into the hands of British secret services through them, he writes.

Further, Kadyrov mentions former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov. His rapid landing at the earlier arranged reserve airfield in the Alps invites questions of non-material nature: did not he export some state secrets together with his ‘earned savings’, Kadyrov asks.

Mikhail Gorbachev, Mikhail Kasyanov, Boris Nemtsov and Alexei Kudrin occupied no less important public offices at different times. All of them not only constantly travel abroad without any restrictions, but also speak on behalf of their country there.

Ramzan Kadyrov expresses confidence that the interests of Russia’s national security make it essential to restrict such ‘tours’ by so high-ranking ex-leaders.

Foreseeing objections, including from human rights activists, the Chechen leader stresses that he does not contest the right of other citizens to freedom of movement.


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