Staunton, June 17 – Members of the Russian Duma routinely ignore not only the Russian Constitution but good sense in their actions, but a Meduza report documents that they can’t even follow the rules of their own body but instead allow numerous cases in which deputies who are not present and thus not supposed to be able to vote are nonetheless being listed as having voted.
According to Duma regulations the Duma, members are not allowed to vote except in person (with rare exceptions) or to have other members vote in their stead. But despite that rule and despite Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin’s efforts, many continue to vote even though they don’t show up (220.127.116.11/duma/about/regulations/chapter-10/ and meduza.io/feature/2021/06/17/v-gosdume-prodolzhayut-golosovat-za-otsutstvuyuschih-deputatov-ob-etom-stanovitsya-izvestno-vsyakiy-raz-kogda-umiraet-kto-to-iz-parlamentariev).
The problem continues to grow because both United Russia and the three systemic parties represented in the Duma want it to, the first to give as many votes as possible to Kremlin measures and the latter to show just how many these parties are able to muster in opposition and thus win points for that.
But the problem has become so egregious that even when key votes are scheduled, few Duma deputies turn up, outraging Volodin and leading many to criticize the Russian parliamentarians for failing to be able to live according to their own rules when they are making laws (tass.ru/politika/7785867 and lenta.ru/news/2020/06/18/multa/).
Earlier, the Duma passed a special resolution prohibiting any deputy from using the card of another to vote in his place (rbc.ru/politics/21/10/2016/5809db269a79470d9cd826e8). But that rule continues to be flaunted as well. The last year has highlighted this problem because so many deputies were known to be ill but nonetheless were having their votes recorded.
Currently, some deputies are pushing for the creation of a system of biometric registration which would allow the leaders of the Duma to know who in fact is physically present and thus entitled to vote. That list could easily be compared with the list of those voting, and the votes of those not present could be ignored.
But despite support among some deputies, this measure does not appear to be going anywhere fast. The parliamentarians say it may be a good idea but note that there is no money for it. As a result, the Duma in its preparation of illegal laws will likely continue to use illegal means to pass them.