MOSCOW, December 15 (Itar-Tass) On Wednesday, the speaker of the fifth and sixth State Duma Boris Gryzlov refused from his deputy mandate, stating that “it is wrong to occupy the post of the State Duma speaker for two terms in succession.” However, he noted that he will continue to head the United Russia Supreme Council and is ready to work at the post, which the president will instruct him to take. The experts called the names of officials that can replace him. The most probable candidates for the State Duma speaker are Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and chief of the presidential executive office Sergei Naryshkin.
On Wednesday, Boris Gryzlov refused from his deputy mandate, finding this “wrong to occupy the post of the State Duma speaker for two terms in succession,” the RBC daily writes. Gryzlov did not name his new job. But he expressed readiness to work “at the post, which the president will instruct him to take.” For the experts he turned in a symbol of a milk-and-water State Duma, which rubber stamps all laws submitted from the Kremlin or the Russian White House of Government. The saying that “the parliament is not the place for debates” turned into the daily reality. The deputies do not need to attend a parliament session at the session hall: the most important thing is to give a voting card to a fellow deputy from the same faction.
Gryzlov did not name other reasons for resignation, except for “two terms in succession,” the Kommersant notes. The State Duma opposition does not rule out that the former speaker, who also considered “the State Duma as no place for political battles,” stepped down, because he failed to integrate in a new State Duma, in which three opposition factions (212 seats) have only 26 seats fewer than the ruling party (238 seats). Meanwhile, no oppositionists doubt that a member of the United Russia Party will be elected as a new speaker as before, Gryzlov stated on Wednesday after the meeting between the president and representatives of four State Duma parties.
But Boris Gryzlov did not name an official who will be his successor at the post of the speaker, the newspaper went on to say. Other United Russia party functionaries also refused from public forecasts on this issue, offering to wait for the decisions of the United Russia General Council. They stated on conditions of anonymity that after Gryzlov’s resignation from the post five deputies from the United Russia election list can run for speaker. They are the chairman of the Committee for Civil Legislation in the fifth State Duma Pavel Krasheninnikov, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, two Deputy Prime Ministers Dmitry Kozak and Alexander Zhukov and chief of the presidential executive office Sergei Naryshkin. It was reported closer to Wednesday evening that Viktor Zubkov refused from the deputy mandate. Dmitry Kozak, who headed the United Russia list in St. Petersburg, followed suit.
Naryshkin and Zhukov remained the most probable candidates for speaker by Wednesday evening. The United Russia General Council will take a final decision, whom United Russia will nominate for speaker, at its next meeting on Saturday, December 17.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, who worked in the parliament for a long time, may become the speaker in the lower house of parliament, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports. Deputy director general of the Centre of Political Technologies Alexei Makarkin believes that Zhukov has some chances to become speaker, “He would be a quite good mediator, as he has a major experience of work.” On the contrary, Kremlin sources claimed that the most probable candidate for the State Duma speaker is chief of the presidential executive office Sergei Naryshkin.
It is obvious that the story with Gryzlov’s resignation could not do without Vladimir Putin, the Moskovsky Komsomolets writes. Boris Gryzlov is a close associate of the prime minister for many years. The speaker of the last two State Dumas decided to refuse from the deputy mandate only after the consultations with the prime minister. Press secretary of the prime minister Dmitry Peskov stated that Putin and Gryzlov “were keeping in constant working contact,” he is unaware whether they consulted concretely on Gryzlov’s resignation.