Thursday, February 21, 2019

Duma Website to Feature Most Outrageous Proposals and Statements by Deputies, Volodin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 21 – Some Duma members have made such outrageous proposals and statements that it is no surprise that sometimes news outlets ascribe to them even more outrageous proposals and statements that they did not in fact make. Now, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin proposed something likely to strike many as outrageous to protect deputies.

            He has announced that the Duma website will now create a special page on which such statements and proposals will be posted. Such things will only be put up after consultations with party fractions and the risk of appearing there should make members of Russia’s lower house more responsible (

                Members won’t want to be noticed for this by their party comrades, Volodin says, especially if they are elected on a party list basis and might find themselves dropped from the list or at least put further down it in the next electoral cycle.  Consequently, he suggests, this measure will increase party discipline and individual responsibility.

            But in making the proposal, the speaker suggested his first interest was in protecting the deputies themselves. Because some of their proposals are outrageous, many Russians have no trouble expecting reports of even more outrageous ones that they did not in fact make. By posting the outrageous, he says, journalists will on notice they can’t continue to make things up.

            Earlier this week, the Duma passed on first reading a bill that would impose fines up to 5000 rubles (80 US dollars) for individuals and up to one million rubles (160,000 US dollars) for institutions that disseminated unreliable information threatening the life and health of people or public order.

                Volodin suggested that these fines should apply to the owners of media outlets as well.  And his latest proposal appears to be in aid of that idea. 

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