Friday, September 17, 2021

Behavior of Duma Deputies Increasingly Regimented, ‘Novaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Sept. 15 – Novaya gazeta has examined the behavior of 2000 Duma deputies on 26,000 laws over the past 20 years and concluded that it has displayed clear trends toward greater party discipline, voting only in favor of laws especially those offered by government and president, and a collective approach to legislation during that period.

            The paper today reported five key findings from its examination (

            First, the last Duma was the first when the legislature passed more laws than it rejected 23180 to 2129, a reflection of the constitutional majority of United Russia and the recognition by its members and others that only measures that party backs have any chance of approval. The systemic opposition may offer additional ones but with ever less chance of success.

            Second, the legislative process is ever less deliberative. Increasingly laws are passed with little or now discussion, in the previous Duma, deputies spent an average of 14 minutes discussing each measure; in the current on, 18 minutes, both down significantly from the earlier ones.

            Third, since 2004, 99.9 percent of United Russia deputies have voted for any initiatives which have reach a final vote after clearing approval of the leaders of the Duma. KPRF deputies are far more likely to vote against such measures. Many of its deputies and those of LDPR do so by absenting themselves when the vote is conducted.

            But even United Russia deputies don’t always show up. In the current Duma, that happened in 10 percent of the cases.

            Fourth, ever more of the legislative proposals the Duma considers originate in the government. In the early 2000s, the government submitted 300 to 400 proposals each year. In the last five years, it submitted an average of 1600. The deputies approved 92 to 93 percent of government proposals and “up to 99 percent” of those from the president.

            And fifth, ever fewer pieces of legislation are offered by one or a small group of deputies; and ever more by large numbers. That provides a clear signal now that those which are being advanced will pass and discourages those who can’t get such advance support from putting forward their ideas.

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