The State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament may strip of mandates two opposition MPs at a time. Member of A Just Russia Oleg Mikheyev may be stripped of immunity in connection with commercial activity he conducted before his election to the Duma. And Communist (CPRF) party member Konstantin Shirshov - for his alleged selling of a mandate in the United Russia list.
The Duma committee on the rules of procedure has already made a recommendation to strip Konstantin Shirshov of immunity, the Kommersant daily writes. The MP himself on Monday wrote an application addressed to State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin in which he consented to be stripped of immunity “for the participation in the investigation of all the circumstances of the case” and asked to consider his issue without debates. The party backed his position. The newspaper recalls that Shirshov is suspected of fraud. According to a version of the investigation, in 2011 for a “remuneration” of 7.5 million euros the MP promised to businessman Alexander Chernyakov to include him in the United Russia list at the Duma elections.
CPRF leader Gennady Zyuganov on Monday did not rule out that “a major provocation is linked with the so-called Shirshov case,” adding that its chain “will lead to highest offices.”
Also on Monday, the rules of procedure committee issued a recommendation to strip of immunity A Just Russia member Oleg Mikheyev, the Novye Izvestia newspaper reports. The investigation authorities suspect him of fraud with immovable property of the Volgograd Engine-Building Works worth 500 million roubles and attempted embezzlement of 2.1 billion roubles of Promsvyazbank. The Prosecutor’s Office wants to bring the member of A Just Russia to criminal responsibility, but for this it is necessary to strip Oleg Mikheyev of MP immunity.
Mikheyev has rejected all the accusations as unfounded. At the committee meeting Mikheyev brought documents disproving all the allegations against him. “Instead of giving a retort to the Prosecutor’s Office that wrongly drew up the documents, the committee, unfortunately, did not do it,” Mikheyev said in an interview with the Novye Izvestia newspaper, stressing that he is not afraid much of being stripped of immunity. “I’ll prove later that I’m innocent. But the bad thing is that my image can be seriously damaged over this time. And who knows how much effort it will take to restore it after that,” the lawmaker concluded.
Meanwhile, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily writes that the RF Supreme Court on Monday started the consideration of the case of stripping A Just Russia member Gennady Gudkov of the State Duma mandate. The newspaper recalled that on September 14 the ex-MP was stripped of his mandate by the majority of votes of the lawmakers, and then filed a complaint with the Supreme Court in order to recognise this decision unlawful. The applicants stressed that the grounds for stripping the MP of his powers were not specified in the resolution. At present, the law that would regulate this procedure has not yet been adopted, and the State Duma does not have the competence and possibility to deprive of mandate the lawmaker for whom the country’s population voted, it is note in the complaint.
The Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily stresses that the decision cannot be expected before Tuesday. The newspaper stresses that the party and faction of A Just Russia at Monday’s meeting did not participate, but sent a letter in support of its ex-MP to the Supreme Court. A package of materials has come from the Russian Investigative Committee (SK), which, as the complainant’s defence lawyers hurried to recall, three times has refused to initiate criminal proceedings against Gudkov.
The applicant himself, speaking to reporters, having listing those Duma members who have already lost parliamentary immunity or even mandate (along with Gudkov there are five of them so far) predicts: “All this is fraught with dissolution of the Duma.”