How the appeal to Putin was discussed in the State Duma
The State Duma, unexpectedly for many, supported the initiative of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and turned to President Putin with a request to recognize the independence of the DNR and LNR. The United Russia resolution, proposing to first find out the opinion of the Foreign Ministry, received fewer votes, because part of United Russia supported both options. The speakers said that they expressed the opinion of “the entire people of Russia.” No data from sociological surveys confirming this was provided.
Photo: Dmitry Katorzhnov
Looking ahead, after negotiations with German Chancellor Scholz, Putin said that the Russian deputies “subtly feel the mood of citizens.” And that in the matter of the DPR and LPR, the main thing is to use “not fully realized opportunities for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.” Scholz, on the other hand, said that if Russia recognizes the DPR and LPR, it would be a “political disaster.” But back to the State Duma.
Duma resolutions, if they are not resolutions on the adoption of laws, are only advisory in nature. They do not have legally significant binding consequences. The president can take the political position of the parliament into account and act in accordance with it (that is, recognize the DPR and LPR now or whenever he wants), or he can ignore it.
Until the beginning of the meeting, everything looked like the State Duma, having said a lot of “kind” words about Ukraine and the West, would manage to neither accept nor reject the appeal to the president submitted by a group of communists led by Gennady Zyuganov back on January 19: an alternative draft resolution , signed by United Russia members Viktor Vodolatsky and Artyom Turov, proposed sending this appeal to the Foreign Ministry for consultations. If the majority chose the second option, the Duma would kill two birds with one stone: it would demonstrate that it was “for” recognizing the DPR and LPR, and would “kick back” the communist initiative from the parliamentary territory to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs … Considering that ER has 325 in the State Duma out of 450 votes, the option “with regards to Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov” was considered the favorite.
Kazbek Taysaev made a report on behalf of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. The bloodshed in the Donbass has been going on for the eighth year now, the population is tired, “we need to protect our brothers and sisters,” but “Washington puppeteers are ready to arrange another large-scale bloodshed,” he said. “There is no alternative to the Minsk agreements, but given the fact that Ukraine is ignoring their implementation, Russia should take this issue into its own hands at the state level,” Mr. Taysaev said evasively.
In fact, what the communists proposed to the president, namely, to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR, would mean breaking the Minsk agreements by Russia, a country that, along with Ukraine, Germany and France, signed them. Most of those who participated in the discussion preferred to avoid this issue.
Terrible sanctions with grave consequences for the Russian economy and foreign policy isolation in the event of recognition in the Communist Party of the Russian Federation are not expected: Mr. Taysaev recalled that in 2008 Russia recognized the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, “peace and tranquility have been restored there,” and nothing, they say, nothing terrible happened. “The damage to the well-being of citizens can be serious,” Anton Tkachev (New People) later noted, and asked the views of the communists on whether the Russians are ready to give up a third of the volume of their refrigerator and the 13th salary for the sake of the unobvious prospects of recognizing the DPR and LNR”. “I am sure that the people of Russia today fully support our decision, and are ready to refuse not only 13 salaries. In addition, more than 600 thousand people there (on the territory of the DPR and LPR – “MK.”) are citizens of the Russian Federation, we are obliged to protect them,” Mr. Taysaev replied.
With the number of holders of Russian passports in self-proclaimed republics deputies a little confused. During the discussion, another figure of 860,000 was raised. But in the end they clarified: 730 thousand …
United Russia Artem Turov spoke on behalf of the authors of the alternative draft resolution. Regarding what is happening in Ukraine, he said the same thing as the communists: Kiev did everything to destroy the system of the Minsk agreements, not a single point of them has been fulfilled, civilians are dying, a strike group has been created in the delimitation zone, armed with the help of NATO countries … ” We have no differences with any party in the text of the appeal and assessment of the situation. We are only talking about the form of submission – first consult with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which represents our country in international relations,” Mr. Turov explained, answering questions from colleagues.
The head of the relevant Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots Leonid Kalashnikov (KPRF) admitted that two different resolutions for one appeal is the first time, this has not happened in the Duma's history. The committee did not receive a written response from the Foreign Ministry outlining its position, although it did appeal there: they referred to the fact that Minister Lavrov had already said everything on this topic in the plenary session hall during the government hour on January 26. And then the minister said the following: Russia insists on the implementation of the Minsk agreements of 2015, the purpose of which is to achieve a special status for the DPR and LPR within the framework of the Ukrainian state …
Alexander Yushchenko (KPRF) reminded United Russia Viktor Vodolatsky how he had been to Donbas “and also saw the tears of citizens who asked for quick and clear decisions.” According to Mr. Yushchenko, the ER resolution, signed by the former ataman of the Great Don Society, will only give rise to “red tape”. But Mr. Vodolatsky replied that he is a supporter of the early recognition of the DPR and LPR, he simply believes for some reason that sending an appeal to the Foreign Ministry will just spur the process. In general, the Cossack general is sure that “these lands are ours and they must be returned.” Attach to Russia, that is …
None of the leaders of the Duma factions has risen to the podium with a position statement on such a sensitive issue: Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Gennady Zyuganov, Alexei Nechaev and Vladimir Vasilyev are ill, and the leader of the “SR” faction, Sergei Mironov, who was present in the hall, ceded the right to speak to his colleague Oleg Nilov. However, the position of this faction has been known for a long time: from the very beginning, the Right-wing Russians declared that they would vote for a more radical project of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. And speaking on behalf of the communists, Nikolai Kolomeytsev persuaded the deputies like this: “Now Scholz (Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany -“ MK. ”) will come to the Kremlin, and we are such a trump card on the president’s table … An additional trump card in the most difficult negotiations that he has been conducting in the last six months …
The head of the Duma Committee on International Affairs, Leonid Slutsky, on behalf of the LDPR, said from the podium that “the moment of truth is coming,” and “many will support both draft resolutions, we must tell the president that the people of Russia are ready to recognize the DPR and LPR.” By that time, it was already known that the Zhirinovsky faction decided to vote for the communist option.
Obviously, only the New People faction was not ready to vote for a direct appeal to the president. Sardana Avksentyeva advised her colleagues to leave foreign policy issues to the diplomats and focus on domestic politics, the fight against poverty, “especially since harsh statements and continuous shocks with fists can provoke a real conflict, for which you will have to pay with real human lives.”
And in At the very end of the discussion, the first deputy head of the United Russia faction, Vyacheslav Makarov, “discovered a secret”: the majority faction did not decide on a solidarity vote, that is, deputies are allowed to vote according to the dictates of their hearts and guided by their own understanding.
Free expression of will brought a surprise. In the rating voting, the deputies alternately vote for both documents, and each can support either one of them, or both, and the document that receives the most votes is considered adopted. The project of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation won (it was supported by 351 deputies), the proposal of “ER” to send an appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs gained 310 votes …
The president was put on the table a “trump card”.
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