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Oct 12, 2021
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The wings of the real opposition were clipped: What to expect from the work of the State Duma of the VIII convocation?

The wings of the real opposition were clipped: What to expect from the work of the State Duma of the VIII convocation?

Photo: Sergey Fadeichev / TASS

The rules of procedure of the State Duma imply that each of its members, with the exception of the chairman of the State Duma and his deputies, as well as heads of factions, must be a member of one of the committees of the lower house of parliament. It is these committees that prepare bills and resolutions for consideration, organize parliamentary hearings, monitor law enforcement practices and much more.

As it became known from the copy of the draft resolution of the State Duma “On the election of chairmen of the State Duma committees” at the disposal of the editorial board of “SP”, most of the committees in the renewed lower chamber – 17 – were retained by “United Russia”.

4 committees each went to the Liberal Democratic Party and Fair Russia – For the Truth, while the New People who entered parliament for the first time got 2 committees.

Representatives of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, as in the previous State Duma, will lead five committees:

  • on property issues, land and property relations (Sergey Gavrilov);
  • on the affairs of the Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian integration and relations with compatriots (Leonid Kalashnikov);
  • for the development of the Far East and the Arctic (Nikolay Kharitonov);
  • on family, women and children (Nina Ostanina);
  • on agrarian issues (Pavel Kashin).

Of course, the formation of committees is carried out on the basis of the principle of proportional representation of factions. And here, it seems, everything is logical – according to the official data of the Central Election Commission, “United Russia” received an overwhelming majority of votes in the elections, and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation took second place in the electorate’s list of preferences, which was reflected in the distribution.

However, against the background of the fact that the very number of Duma committees this time was increased from 26 to 32, and the number of deputy mandates of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation increased from 43 to 57, many political scientists behind the scenes assumed that the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, in principle, could take the helm of a larger number of committees. And this alignment, in their opinion, may indicate that in this way the ruling elite reminded the Communists of the recent noisy protests against the voting results in Moscow.

“To what extent are the assumptions about the” educational clipping of the wings “of the opposition grounded, and what can generally be expected from the State Duma of the VIII convocation in such a situation?” – asked the question of “SP” on the eve of its first meeting, scheduled for 10-00 Moscow time on September 12 this year.

– There are no doubts that the government is deliberately “cutting the wings” of a healthy opposition, – said in an interview with the publication Doctor of Political Science, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Sergei Obukhov… – To start here, in my opinion, it should be that the ruling elite did everything to equalize the results of the last elections, primarily in those territories where, in fact, at least an equal balance of forces between United Russia and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation was recorded with an initially adequate vote count.

In my personal conviction, the ruling party is now clearly showing that it is she who is the main winner and is not going to share her influence with anyone in the new State Duma. But, as correctly noted Gennady Andreevich Zyuganov, you can rewrite the protocols and count the votes in the right direction, but nothing can be done with people’s trust, and they do not doubt who in reality emerged victorious from this pre-election battle.

Based on this, I can say that in fact, how many committees the Communist Party of the Russian Federation will lead in the State Duma of the new convocation does not play a decisive role for our party. Most importantly, we have managed to retain access to the parliamentary rostrum, from which, on the one hand, we will voice our sound and constructive criticism, and, on the other, demonstrate our readiness to toughly protect the interests of our voters.

“SP”: – Given such a powerful imbalance in the leadership of the Duma committees in favor of “United Russia”, is there any hope that the current State Duma will not become another “rabid printer” stamping laws exclusively in the interests of a narrow group of people?

– On the one hand, it is not yet known how the outright spoilers of the ruling party and the so-called self-nominated candidates will behave. According to my assumptions, after about one and a half or two months of work, all of them, so to speak, “grab the developer,” and we will see what their seemingly oppositional pre-election statements are worth.

On the other hand, the Communist Party, unfortunately, did not receive a blocking package, although, I must admit, it was counting on some success in this area. But this does not mean that the party will not continue its exposing and propaganda work.

In addition, the new State Duma will have to take into account public sentiments in its work. And they, judging by the results of sociological research, even of obviously pro-government organizations, testify that the de facto ratio of citizens’ preferences between the ruling party and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is now, as they say, fit-fifty.

So let’s see how things go. But nevertheless, it can be stated with confidence that the work of the State Duma, clearly contrary to the interests of voters, will meet the most severe resistance, because the Communist Party of the Russian Federation has absolutely no intention of reducing its activity. Although it is worth noting that there are already intentions to push through the new parliament hundreds of cannibalistic proposals, ranging from raising taxes and ending with squandering the national property.

– The new State Duma has noticeably renewed its composition, and now there are quite a few lobbyists in its ranks, including political strategists, whose professional activities are de facto concentrated in this area. And this, in my opinion, allows us to assume that the newly elected lower house of parliament will be actively used primarily by big business to promote and protect their own interests in difficult post-pandemic conditions, – shared his opinion with “SP” on this matter Director of the Center for the Development of Regional Policy, political scientist Ilya Grashchenkov… – In addition, it should be borne in mind that for the first time in a long time, the fifth party, New People, broke through to parliament, which, most likely, will promote the line of “loosening the screws” – supporting business, expanding freedom of speech, and so on. And, in my opinion, here they will act as a counterbalance to United Russia, which, on the contrary, is now escalating the issue of total control. So from this point of view, there is hope that the new State Duma will once again become, as before, a platform for serious discussions.

“SP”: – Can we then assume that between its factions will be formed, if not blocs, then at least periodic collaborations of the opposition?

– With regard to the “New People” specifically, it is worth noting that they intend, as it were, to become a platform for the implementation of the ideas of the so-called non-parliamentary opposition, which had a fairly large number of voters. So here I, frankly, have little idea of ​​the collaboration of, say, “New People” with the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

In general, of course, some kind of collaboration is quite possible. And although United Russia now has a parliamentary majority, which allows it, even with the combined efforts of all other parliamentary factions, to still block and adopt at its discretion any laws in principle, at least sharp dialogues and discussions can ensure this.

For example, about the same law on foreign agents, which, according to estimates Dmitry Peskov, should be subjected to some kind of adjustment, because in its current form sometimes, as they say, it shoots at its own people. Or about the law on the abolition of the pension reform. Obviously, United Russia will never support him in his life, but I admit that she will have to seriously discuss this topic.

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