Staunton, April 2 – More parties are represented the current Chuvash State Council than ever before, but United Russia, the country’s ruling party, is running roughshod over both them and the established rules, thereby reducing the authority of the parliament in the eyes of the population and exacerbating tensions in the republic, according to a legal expert.
In an article in today’s “Irekle Samakh,” that Middle Volga republic’s independent newspaper, Igor Mikhailov, a lawyer who serves as coordinator of Civic Initiatives there, explicitly says that “the political pluralism declared by the Constitution exists only on paper and does not correspond to reality” (irekle.org/articles/i40.html
Because of United Russia’s approach, the Chuvash State Council “has not held a single parliamentary hearing or allowed representatives of political parties not represented in the council to speak, despite Russian and Chuvash legislation that requires precisely that at least once a year.
Moreover, the public councils that Russian law calls for, such as the Social Chamber, Experts Council, and Youth Parliament, remain dead letters in the republic seldom if ever meeting and never consulted as Russian law requires by the United Russia-dominated State Council.
Finally, Mikhailov notes, Chuvash residents cannot even find out how the deputies voted. The deputies use an electronic system “which does not identify” how each voted, thus violating yet another principle of parliamentary life and depriving the population of exactly the kind of information it needs to make an informed choice in elections.
To remedy this situation, the lawyer offers eight proposals that essentially call for the State Council to operate according to the law, ensure that all fractions are fully informed and involved in its work, and provide more information to the population about what it and its individual members are doing.
Unless there is a fundamental change of heart on the part of the United Russia majority, however, there seems little chance of any of them being adopted. And thus in one small Middle Volga republic, the undemocratic actions of that ruling party go a long way to explaining why it is increasingly discredited not only there but across the Russian Federation.