New Russian bill orders sacking of MPs whose spend exceeds official income

The Lower House Security Committee of the Russian parliament has approved a new draft law which allows to firing of federal lawmakers who lie in their income declarations and spend more than they officially earn.

The bill, written by MP Anatoly Vybornyi of the majority party United Russia, orders that Russian senators and state Duma deputies who knowingly include false information in their annual income declarations are automatically ousted from parliament. If the mistake is unintentional then the lawmaker responsible can get off with a warning.

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Alexey Navalny (RIA Novosti / Anton Denisov)

In comments to the Izvestia daily newspaper the author of the bill said that the document equates the rights and responsibilities of parliament members to those of other civil servants. At present, civil servants who give false information on their income declaration are punished with automatic sacking, while senators and state Duma deputies face only the obligatory disclosure of this information in the mass media and on the parliament’s website.

If passed the bill would make it obligatory for parliamentarians to report all deals made within a year when the size of such deals exceeds the combined income of all their family members for the previous three years. The reports must include the detailed list of sources for the purchase.

In addition, the bill orders automatic expulsion of members of parliament who allowed a conflict of interests to occur and whose actions hurt the interests of citizens, state organizations or the state as a whole.

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Former Governor of the Kirov Region Nikita Belykh seen at Moscow's Basmanny Court. © Valeriy Melnikov

In his comments to the press MP Vybornyi also said that he wanted to change the current situation in which the only punishment for federal lawmakers is expulsion, which can be invoked after a parliamentary vote.

In 2013 Russia introduced a law ordering that civil servants whose expenses are much higher than their income may be dismissed, stripped of their property or face criminal charges. Such expenses include purchases of property, stocks or vehicles. In addition, if the price of a deal is higher than the family’s three-year total income, civil servants will be obliged to present information on the sources of their revenue. The property acquired with the unidentified income can be seized by the state. 

In mid-2017 the state Duma approved the creation of a nationwide registry containing the names of civil servants who were fired due to “loss of trust” regarding with corruption, in theory making it more difficult for them to get a new job. The new rules apply to civil servants at federal and municipal levels, military personnel, law enforcement agents, state corporations, and other state organizations, such as the central bank.

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