Russia Likely to Ban Video Cameras in Cars
Russian drivers are dismayed by the news that a recently proposed legislative bill could potentially allow traffic police to confiscate car mounted video cameras and impose fines on those who use them.
Introduced to the Duma by the Legislative Assembly in the Orenburg Region, the draft law is ostensibly directed against those who ignore the car window tinting law that came into force on July 1, 2012. Evaders circumvent this law by replacing permanent tinting with removable sun shades, plastic film overlays, filter screens, etc., an administrative offence with a 100-ruble ($3.30) fine.
But the proposed amendments are written in such a way as to give the traffic police a free hand in their interpretation. Driving a vehicle with “additional objects or reusable window coverings that restrict the view from the driver’s seat,” that are attached to the windshield or the front side windows would be punishable by a 500-ruble fine and the confiscation of the “object.” As it stands, this wording could be applied not only to sunshades and tinting film but also to window mounted camcorders, radar detectors, GPS navigators and, technically, even rear-view mirrors.
Federation Council member Sergei Lisovsky sent a letter to Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokolstsev, arguing that the proposed amendments would affect a car owners’ property rights and the opportunity to prove his/her innocence during a traffic accident. The official reply, signed by the minister’s deputy, Viktor Kiryanov, failed to mention the possibility of the law being applied to any item attached to the windshield.
An official government reference to the draft law signed by the chief of the Government’s administrative staff, Vladislav Surkov, says that the draft will be supported by the Government if the legislature meets several conditions, including the omission of the phrase “reusable coverings.”
This response implies that the possibility to freely interpret the wording “additional objects restricting the view from the driver’s seat” has been overlooked. If so, the bill could be approved after the usual bureaucratic debate and video cameras, which make life difficult for the traffic police, will be subject to confiscation.
Argumenty i Fakty
Children in Chelyabinsk Suffer from Nightmares Following Meteorite Fall
Psychologists from the Ministry are treating schoolchildren who are experiencing fears in the wake of a meteorite fall in the Urals. Parents and the teachers of one of the schools in Chelyabinsk have described the behavioral and emotional problems facing their children.
The regional Emergencies Ministry’s press service reports that the children feel constrained, experience a sense of alarm, have sleep problems and complain about nightmares.
The Ministry has sent psychologists to the schools to hold sessions with groups of six to eight children. It is said the children enjoyed attending these classes. Experts have suggested that junior school students make plasticine charms to deal with their feelings of fear. The parents were also given advice on how to cope with such situations in the future.
The fall of a meteorite near Chelyabinsk on February 15 was accompanied by a flash of light and a blast wave. Over 1,000 people applied for medical aid, and many buildings were damaged.
Mix-up in State Register Shocks 1,000 Business Owners
The tax authorities have put the change in business ownership down to a system crash during input of new data and data exchange with the Migration Service.
Businessman Roman Romachev suddenly discovered that four companies that he owns, including R-Techno, have been registered in a different name since January 31. The “new owner,” Moscow resident Alina Zhukova, was just as surprised when Romachev contacted her to give her the news. Her only recent encounter with official documents was obtaining a new passport.
According to the SPARK Interfax database of company reports, the change of ownership happened “after new data was input into the Unified State Register of Legal Entities by the state authority responsible for issuing identification documents for Russian citizens valid in Russia.” The State Register is maintained by the Federal Taxation Service, while passports are issued by the Federal Migration Service.
Romachev’s inquiry to the taxation authority brought an unexpected response. The failure was caused by “a large amount of incorrect data on changes in passport details,” supplied by the migration service, Inna Miroshnikova, head of the service’s interregional inspectorate for centralized data processing, wrote in a letter. She said they stopped data processing and exchange with other official agencies on February 12 because of the problem.
Passport details are updated automatically in the State Register, based on the migration service data, a taxation service source explained. A bug in the migration service software caused a mix-up that affected about 1,000 companies. The migration service has already notified its colleagues about the problem.
However, a Federal Migration Service representative said he could not comment on a fault that happened at a different institution.
The taxation service is now verifying all the passport data received and the changes made to the State Register during the risk period, the source said, adding that all the errors will be corrected without involving the legal entities concerned.
The information on the State Register does not confirm ownership of equity shares and stocks, said Sergei Kazakov from the Sameta law firm. The State Register is a titular document that lists the actual owners of businesses and links to sources that may contain the same data. However, to sell shares you have to present a package of the requisite documents, which cannot be obtained based on an entry in the State Register.
This is not the first glitch to affect the State Register. In 2007, Vedomosti discovered that nine out of ten companies headed by Vladimir Bogdanov, director general of Surgutneftegas, had been erased. Their investments accounted for over 40 percent of the value of Surgutneftegas. The Federal Taxation Service did not respond to Vedomosti’s request, but the data was eventually restored.
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