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Russia's Duma fears Kiev may cancel laws giving special status to Donbass

September 24, 2014, 19:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to a Russian State Duma commitee chairman, all decisions the Ukrainian parliament is adopting can be subject to scrutiny for legitimacy and subsequent cancellation
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People carry flags of the self-proclaimed entities of eastern Ukraine at a demonstration in Russia

People carry flags of the self-proclaimed entities of eastern Ukraine at a demonstration in Russia

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Bobylev

MOSCOW, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian lawmakers are concerned that the laws giving a special status to eastern regions of Ukraine, known as Donbass, and amnestying its militias can be cancelled, a parliamentarian said on Wednesday.

“All decisions the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian parliament) is adopting can be subject to scrutiny for legitimacy and subsequent cancellation,” Vladimir Pligin, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation in the State Duma (lower house of Russian parliament), said Wednesday.

He said the legitimacy of the Ukrainian parliament itself is in doubt since it was dissolved by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in July. “This is a constitutional problem,” the lawmaker said.

There is also uncertainty about the implementation of legislative initiatives aimed at resolving the conflict in Donbass, he added.

“We generally think that these laws are positive as they have stopped the violence at least for a while, but their texts are riddled with contradictions. And this can provide the reason for contesting them in the Constitutional Court,” Pligin said.

He specifically mentioned the law on amnesty for Donbass militiamen. “The law is written in a language that is not completely clear. We studied it several times and found it completely contradictory to Ukraine’s current Penal Code,” the lawmaker said.

Pligin also criticised Ukraine’s lustration law. “Lustration is a contradictory document. It will allow skilled professionals to be dismissed and thus undermine the professional basis of the civil service,” he said.

Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin earlier quoted experts as raising questions about the current status of the Ukrainian parliament “which, while having been dissolved, continues to rubber-stamp important laws”, the failure to publish the texts of some of the adopted laws, and the continuing pressure on the Ukrainian lawmakers from radicals.

Controversial laws

Ukraine's parliament passed a law granting a special self-rule status for certain districts in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The special status is designed for three years.

The special status law was stipulated by the Minsk agreements reached in early September in the Belarusian capital on the basis of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s seven-point plan proposed two days before.

The parliament also passed a law prohibiting persecution and punishment of participants in the armed conflict in the country’s southeastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. However, speaking earlier about the bill on amnesty for participants of hostilities in Ukraine’s embattled eastern regions, President Poroshenko said it will not be applied to certain types of crimes.

Those, who committed crimes under Criminal Code articles stipulating premeditated murder, terrorism, attempts to assassinate a state official, a law enforcement officer, a judge, rape, looting, vandalism and some other articles designed to ensure state integrity, will not be subject to amnesty

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