MOSCOW, September 25 (Itar-Tass) — On Monday, the State Duma Committee for Ethics recommended the lower house of Russian parliament to strip member of the A Just Russia faction Ilya Ponomarev of the right to take the floor for a month for an unethical statement, according to the committee. Ponomarev used his favourite set phrase “crooks and thieves” against the United Russia Party at one of State Duma meetings last summer. The deputy has made a scandalous statement on July 13, when the law on libel was approved. Ponomarev opposes strongly new amendments in the law and stated that he urges “the crooks and thieves” not to vote for it.
“I do not address to someone in concrete, but all deputies took it as the words against them,” Ponomarev told the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily. “For instance, deputy Karmazina stated that when she comes for a meeting with the voters, they addressed these words to her. I replied to her, that I am well aware that my statement was not related with her, but the State Duma reputation is shifted on her as well,” he pointed out.
The Novye Izvestia daily reported that LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky proposed to strip Ponomarev of a deputy mandate for an disrespected address to the lawmakers, and State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin recommended the ethics committee to consider the words of the deputy. Ponomarev was not invited for a meeting of the committee on Monday, but he managed to get to the debates over his personal case after all. Three proposals were discussed at the committee meeting, the deputy said. “The first proposal is to strip me of the right for taking the floor for a month. The second proposal is to reprimand me and not to strip me of the right for the floor. The third proposal is to offer to me not to use the words “crooks and thieves” any longer in the addresses to the State Duma deputies,” the deputy remarked.
State Duma deputy from the Communist Party Sergei Obukhov recalled to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily that not for the first time United Russia does not notice any criticising attacks against the party at first in order to take a revenge at the oppositionists afterwards. “Valery Rashkin got in the same situation, as the latter said at a State Duma meeting about his report “United Russia and Corruption”, and only a month later he was punished by stripping of the right for taking the floor. By the way, at first United Russia seemed not to notice his repeated statement in the same report and got back to this fact many days later,” Obukhov underlined.