EXCEPTIONALLY MUTE MAJORITY

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UNITED RUSSIA ENDEAVORED TO HAVE ALL OTHER FACTIONS VOTE FOR PUTIN’S ANTI-CRISIS ACTION PLAN

United Russia drew a resolution on the Cabinet’s report for the meeting today. Other factions intend to make life hard for the ruling party.


Putin’s appearance before the Duma on April 6 was necessitated by amendments to the Constitution drawn and adopted last year. They granted the lower house of the parliament the right to listen to the Cabinet’s annual report on performance in general and in the spheres the Duma evinced particular interest in.

The Duma even amended its own regulations so that presentation of the Cabinet’s report is to be followed by resolutions (to add legislative dimension to the whole process). It is fair to add that the idea was first suggested by United Russia itself. The ruling party all but swore that the future document (resolution) would include censorious remarks concerning performance of the government, point out its flaws and shortcomings, and offer ideas and recommendations. Drawing the resolution, United Russia has clearly forgotten its past promises.

The draft resolution is but one page long. It states that the report was made and discussed. That the government toiled against the economic decline in 2008 and therefore took urgent steps to support the banking sphere. In other words, the resolution is but a statement of facts, nothing more. This statement is followed by the phrase to the effect that “The Duma supports the policy of the government aimed at overcoming manifestations of the crisis in economy of the Russian Federation.” In the operative part of the document that follows, the Duma gives instructions to itself rather than recommendations to the government. One instruction, actually, namely “to consider instantaneous work on draft laws necessitated by implementation of the government’s anti-crisis efforts in 2009, the absolute priority.” In other words, the Duma majority did not even have the courage to acknowledge the report. The draft resolution merely states that the report was made and leaves it at that. Instead of evaluating efficiency of the Cabinet, the United Russia faction endeavored to have all of the Duma vote for support of Putin’s anti-crisis action plan.

On April 15, United Russia asked all of the Duma pass a resolution on unquestionable support of the plan. The opposition said it cannot support the plan and denied the ruling party’s request. Its representatives said that they needed time to examine the anti-crisis action plan for what suggestions made by the opposition had been included in it… The impression is that the CPRF, LDPR, and Fair Russia faction are determined to take it out on United Russia today. CPRF Faction Coordinator Sergei Reshulsky promised a scathing speech at the Friday meeting of the Duma.

That the opposition means business became clear when this correspondent began calling Duma factions for comment. Lawmakers were extremely taciturn, as though leaving their rage for the Duma meeting today. “That’s an empty document. We are not going to vote for it,” Fair Russia faction leader Nikolai Levichev said. Sergei Ivanov of the LDPR faction plainly called the parliamentary majority “non-thinkers” and added that United Russia owed it to the government. Neither was Ivan Melnikov of the CPRF any more eloquent at first when he called the draft resolution “a bunch of several copybook maxims and empty words”.

Warming up to the subject some, Melnikov attributed the draft resolution to what he called “… utter reluctance to consider the nature of the policy or evaluate it.”

As a matter of fact, this correspondent heard an approximately similar estimate from a prominent United Russia functionary who insisted on anonymity. “That’s because everyone in the party is afraid to shoulder responsibility for any offer or suggestion because nobody can say in advance how those upstairs will take it.”

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