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MOSCOW, May 24 (Itar-Tass World Service)
Leader of the ruling United Russia party’s faction in the State Duma lower parliament house Andrei Vorobyov announced his plans to meet with U.S. ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul, which were met by the parliamentary opposition with open irritation. They even want to raise the issue at a meeting of the Duma ethics commission, the Izvestia writes referring to A Just Russia lawmakers.
These plans were made public on Thursday, the newspaper writes. The meeting will be held at the State Duma and will “ focus on issues of international cooperation,” the United Russian faction said on its website.
“United Russia made a scandal of the opposition’s meeting with McFaul,” the newspaper cites Dmitry Gudkov of A Just Russia. “So I am going to ask the ethics commission to give an assessment of Vorobyov’s moves. Just for the sake of it. Let us see whether they condemn him as they condemned us. If they claim no one has the right to meet with foreign ambassador, he is to be punished as well. If the commission opts not to apply any measures against the United Russia leader, Gudkov will urge the Duma to give an assessment of those United Russia members who once criticized the opposition for its meeting with McFaul.”
Other A Just Russia members, Oksana Dmitriyeva and Ilya Ponomaryov, shared this opinion. Apart from that, Gudkov’s plans have won support from the Communist Party. “United Russia won nothing when in the heat of the election campaign it twisted the notion and made a farce of the meeting with McFaul. The opposition then kept patient. So now let Vorobyev rip what they have sown,” said Leonid Kalashnikov of the Communist Party.
The first scandal over a meeting with the U.S. ambassador took place in January 2012, when delegates from A Just Russia, the Communist Party, Yabloko, and off-parliament opposition visited the U.S. embassy. United Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party then stirred up a virtual hysteria about this meeting with “an expert in orange revolutions” and even demanded that all those who had taken part in it be stripped off their Duma mandates. The issue was raised at a meeting of the ethics commission, which finally reprimanded Oksana Dmitriyeva and Ilya Ponomaryov.
It is highly unlikely that the commission punishes Vorobyov, the commission’s chairman, Vladimir Pekhtin, hinted in an interview with the Izvestia. In his words, the opposition was reprimanded not for the fact that they had visited the U.S. embassy but for refusing to tell about subjects of their conversation there. “And if Vorobyev does meet with McFaul, he will tell about issues under discussion after it,” Pekhtin noted.