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At a meeting with United Russia activists on Wednesday chairman of the United Russia Party and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev urged once again to ponder over whether the public servants should be forbidden to have real estate abroad. At the same time the premier supported a bill with a ban for public servants to open accounts in foreign banks. President Vladimir Putin has earlier supported the bill.
Dmitry Medvedev called “senseless” the ban for public servants to have real estate abroad, the Kommersant daily reported. “If we intimidate business this way and say to them, “if you want to work in the public service, then you should hide everything somewhere, and then we will enrol you.” I do not think that this will make our public service stronger and will eventually promote the law and order in our country,” he stated. According to the premier, another way should be taken that is the declaration of incomes and several expenses, “We should encourage public servants to reveal themselves, but not hide something. As far as I understand a model, which is in effect in the State Duma today, is quite ambiguous.” Meanwhile, the premier supported the bill for a ban to public servants to open accounts in foreign banks. “A public servant, if he believes in his country, should keep money in his country, even despite the fact that the conditions for keeping this money in our country are worse,” the prime minister stated, noting that foreign real estate and assets in shares are “a more complicated issue.”
Dmitry Medvedev called as “an ambiguous model” a bill, which representatives of the All-Russian People’s Front submitted in the State Duma. Members from the factions LDPR, CPRF, A Just Russia joined the front, the newspaper noted. The bill envisages a ban for real estate abroad and accounts in foreign banks for public servants and gives them six months since the day the law entered into force to get rid of these assets. Fines of up to ten million roubles and the term of up to five years in prison were envisaged for violation of the law. Formally the premier also protects his subordinates. The newspaper recalled that head of the Committee of Civil Initiatives and former Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin stated that, according to his information, several ministers, who “have flats” abroad, will prefer to leave their posts.
Meanwhile, in early September President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the television channel Russia Today that he supports an initiative of the deputies and does not see “anything unusual” in the proposed restrictions for Russian realities and this law “will contribute to the struggle against corruption.”
Presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov agreed with the fact that the president and the prime minister are not unanimous in their views. “There are some arguments in favour and against it. There are some supporters and some rivals in this issue. If the first ones are more, the law will be enacted and vice versa. So, United Russia deputies attended a meeting with United Russia activists in Penza and these deputies have a majority in the State Duma. Let’s wait and see, what position they will take. There will be a second reading and some amendments, as public servants are a sensitive substance, and their heads cannot be cut off with the axe. Some debates will be held in the parliament,” he said.
A source in the government staff pledged that the positions of the Russian White House and the Kremlin do not differ drastically. “Medvedev supported a bill over a ban for accounts in foreign banks, but doubted that other bans are expedient. With due account of Medvedev’s position one can assume that the government will take a resolution on this law attentively,” he stated. Meanwhile, a source in the Kremlin told the Kommersant daily, “Therefore, the bill was moved in so early that the society will be able to debate it.”
The prime minister was also asked to comment on the guilty verdict for the Pussy Riot members, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. “The term in prison is very severe, I would say, awful responsibility. And the fact that a well-known group of young women has already been kept in prison for a quite long period of time is a very serious punishment for all their offences. The extension of custody with a term in prison seems unproductive to me. I do not want to act for a judge, but as far as the corpus delicti in the offence is concerned, to my mind, a suspended sentence would have been quite enough, taking into account their term, which they had already served in custody,” Medvedev stated. Then making such a sensational statement Medvedev could not retain emotions unexpectedly. “I am feeling sick from what they did and from their image and from that hysteria that is accompanying all this. I do not want to speak about it at all. This is my personal attitude,” he stated.