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Russian parliamentary anti-meddling commission to meet later this week

Russia may raise foreign meddling issue in PACE, OSCE, senior MP says

MOSCOW, August 19. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) Council has decided to set up a commission to investigate foreign interference in Russia’s domestic affairs, a source who participated in the State Duma Council’s meeting told TASS on Monday, adding that the commission was expected to meet later in the week.

"It has been decided that the commission may hold its first meeting later in the week," the interlocutor said.

State Duma First Deputy Speaker Ivan Melnikov, in turn, told reporters that "the State Duma made a final decision [to establish a commission] and the State Duma Council has announced that [the commission’s members] should begin their work."

State Duma Security and Anti-Corruption Committee Chairman Vasily Piskaryov has been nominated to head the new commission.

According to a senior Russian lawmaker, the special commission will swiftly expose all cases of foreign interference into Russia’s domestic affairs. "It was a well-timed step that could not be delayed a minute," Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Duma’s Committee on International Affairs, told journalists commenting on the State Duma Council’s decision to set up such a commission. "I am sure all the cases of inadmissible meddling with Russia’s affairs by representatives of a number of foreign countries, in particular ahead of the single voting day on September 8, will be swiftly and efficiently exposed."

He pledged that "the entire parliamentary resource" will be used to "repel all the attempts at external interference into matters of Russia’s state sovereignty both in the election process and in general."

"We will report about the results of the investigation at all international venues and will insist on the inadmissibility of such policy," he added.

Earlier in the month, the opposition factions in the State Duma called for investigating interference in Russia’s domestic affairs by a number of foreign media outlets and diplomatic missions, particularly during recent unauthorized rallies in Moscow. The ruling party, United Russia, supported the initiative.

Possible involvement of PACE, OSCE in resolving the issue

The Russian State Duma could apply to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), using the findings of the commission to investigate foreign meddling in Russia’s domestic affairs, First Deputy Head of the United Russia faction Andrei Isayev told reporters on Monday.

"We assume that we will discuss the issues [concerning meddling — TASS] with representatives of the relevant states and media outlets that meddle in our country’s domestic affairs. The commission’s findings will be made public," he said.

"Legislative proposals based on findings of that commission can be drawn up. We can reach out to our counterparts in the parliaments of the respective states, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation [in Europe]," Isayev added.