On Tuesday, the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament met the prosecutors' inquiry to strip A Just Russia Party lawmaker Oleg Mikheyev of immunity and arraign him in the case over Nomos Bank loan fraud. The lawmaker may become a defendant in a grand fraud case.
His colleagues from A Just Russia faction underlined that Oleg Mikheyev had repeatedly tried to offer the necessary explanations to investigators, the Kommersant notes. Faction leader Sergei Mironov believes that "law-enforcers only listen to one party." Dmitry Gudkov said that the Prosecutor General's Office had not asked Mikheyev to offer explanations.
The Communist Party /KPRF/ does not see incontrovertible proof of Mikheyev's guilt either. United Russia member Dmitry Vyatkin reminded that it is for the court, not the State Duma to rule on culpability or innocence of the colleague.
The house voted 297-59 to support the Prosecutor General's request, with four abstentions. Unofficially, lawmakers noted that such a situation had been inconceivable before: the house had been unanimous at least in one issue, that is "we don't give away our colleagues."
"It was believed in the 1990s that a lawmaker had immunity, so he could not be checked. It seems things are now the other way round," one lawmaker complained. "The value of a lawmaker's mandate has depreciated by two times," his colleague mused.
The Komsomolskaya Pravda notes that "the defendant" looked cheerful and insisted on his innocence. Sergei Mironov and his faction stood up for their colleague urging other lawmakers not to support the resolution. Chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party faction Vladimir Zhirinovsky called upon the Prosecutor General's Office to strip all the members of A Just Russia of immunity for "political fraud." He said they had been a creation of the Kremlin and later turned against it, siding with the Opposition.