Russia to Contribute Additional $10 Billion to IMF
Russia will contribute an additional $10 billion for an IMF firewall meant to prevent future crises, presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
“It’s $10 billion and President Putin has confirmed it,” Peskov said in a comment on the results of a mini-summit of the BRICS nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – at Los Cabos, Mexico, and in reply to journalists’ questions about Russia’s rumored $10 billion contribution.
Peskov said Russia believes that the planned injection of liquidity into a crisis situation would only remove the symptoms, not cure the disease. This is not a “systemic solution.”
“The Russian side said it hopes the allocation of the funds will give Russia, as well as other contributors, an opportunity to influence the disbursement of these funds,” the presidential spokesman said. “It also highlighted the need to search for strategic solutions to such deep problems.”
Peskov also said the BRICS leaders expressed concern about the situation in the euro zone and agreed that the euro zone crisis could impact the global economy.
“Most of them have confirmed their readiness to contribute to the agreed measures,” Putin’s spokesman said, adding that these measures include additional contributions to the IMF firewall fund and a reform of the IMF quota system.
Russian Lawmakers Make the Whole World Wait
Russian opposition parties are ready to file a complaint with the Constitutional Court in a bid to undermine the ratification of WTO accession.
The State Duma must ratify the agreement before the end of its spring session. In fact the votes of the majority party, United Russia, will be enough for approval. Since the minority will not be able to block the bill, the Communist Party and A Just Russia have agreed to contest it in Constitutional Court. The complaint was drafted with the help of Konstantin Babkin, the Party of Action leader, who earlier tried to call a nationwide WTO accession referendum but was rejected by the Central Election Commission (CEC).
Under Russian law, any international agreement can be investigated to ensure that it complies with the constitution before the agreement comes into force. Once the anti-WTO activists file their appeal, the Constitutional Court may suspend the ratification.
The opponents claim the ratification procedure has not been followed properly and “turned into a mere formality.” Neither the government, nor the State Duma has “observed the constitutional requirement to have the draft agreement approved by the Russian regions.” Instead, the government “informed the regions about WTO accession and advertised its benefits.” Furthermore, the government submitted for ratification only a protocol on Russia’s accession to the agreement that established the WTO signed in 1994, but not the accession agreement itself. The protocol was not signed in Russian, while the State Duma only received an unofficial translation. In fact, the CEC declined the referendum proposal insisting that Russian citizens will not be able to “make an informed choice” in this situation. However, the same holds true for the Russian government, the opponents claim.
They also insist that some of the provisions of the WTO accession agreement may be damaging to Russia’s information and national security and ask the court to investigate the entire agreement with appendices.
“We are joining the WTO with a non-modernized economy and Russian products are obviously unable to compete with imports,” said Mikhail Yemelyanov from A Just Russia, first deputy chairman of the lower house committee on economic policy. “All countries that have successfully modernized their economies always pursued strong protectionist policies.” The Communists, who believe that the WTO accession will “seriously damage Russia’s economic security,” plan to hold a protest rally on July 3.
At least 90 signatures of Duma deputies are required for the Constitutional Court to begin investigating the agreement. The Communist group in parliament includes 90 members, and A Just Russia has 64. “We’ll collect over 100 signatures, said Communist Nikolai Kolomeitsev, deputy chairman of the committee on labor and social policy. Liberal Democrat Yaroslav Nilov, who said that his party, LDPR, does not support WTO accession either, noted that they were not officially offered to sign the complaint.
United Russia’s Andrei Isayev, chairman of the labor and social policy committee, dismissed the opposition’s move as “a political demarche.”
State Duma Deputy May Lose Parliamentary Immunity
State Duma deputy Vladimir Bessonov, a member of the Communist Party, may be stripped of his parliamentary immunity at the request of the Investigative Committee for reportedly assaulting police officers during an unauthorized rally.
The Communists and A Just Russia party call this an act of political vengeance.
The State Duma must discuss the issue of stripping Bessonov of his parliamentary immunity within seven days of receiving the Investigative Committee’s request.
“Only the Prosecutor General can request that the State Duma strip a deputy of his or her parliamentary immunity,” Bessonov told the paper. However, the Criminal Proceedings Code allows the Investigative Committee to open criminal cases against State Duma deputies and to request permission for this from the lower parliament house.
On December 2, Bessonov staged an unauthorized rally in Rostov-on-Don in front of the residence of the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy in the Southern Federal District. The police called on the organizers to end the rally, but Bessonov refused, Investigative Committee officials said. Two police officers then tried to switch off audio amplifiers but were attacked by Bessonov and other protesters. A video shows Bessonov hitting Anton Grachyov, Deputy Head of the Rostov Region’s Police Department, on the head. The uniforms of other police officers were torn in the scuffle. Grachyov was subsequently treated for his injuries.
Local police officers had no right to arrest Bessonov because at the time he was a member of the regional legislature and was also running for the State Duma.
Bessonov said there was no need to apply for permission to hold the rally because it amounted to a meeting with voters. On June 18, the State Duma deputies from the Communist Party decided to support Bessonov. “We consider this to be a manifestation of lawlessness and political vengeance. There is no reason to open a criminal case against Bessonov who tried hard to avoid a scuffle but the police played it tough,” said Communist Party lawyer Vadim Solovyov.
Gennady Gudkov, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Security Committee and a member of A Just Russia party, said the Bessonov case highlighted the ongoing repressions against civil activists and members of parliament. He expressed confidence that his party will not support the Investigative Committee’s proposal.
Gudkov added that the issue of revoking his own parliamentary immunity, as well as that of his son, Dmitry Gudkov, and Ilya Ponomaryov, another member of A Just Rusia party, may also be raised. He said the State Duma's Credentials and Ethics Commission had already asked them to resign because of their so-called “unseemly behavior” during the May 6 March of Millions.
Only four State Duma deputies were stripped of their parliamentary immunity in 1995-2010.
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