The Duma Committee on local government postponed consideration of the bill prohibiting the governors to spend the budget money on self-praise. It insisted that United Russia did not support the initiative of the sponsors of the bill
Photo: Mikhail Fomichev / TASS
Thursday, June 22, the state Duma Committee on local self-government (LSG) has considered a bill that prohibits regional authorities to spend money on informing citizens about their activities.
The document was submitted at the end of 2015, the deputies Mikhail Degtyarev (LDPR), Alexander Burke (“Fair Russia”), Alexander Yushchenko (CPRF) and Olga Timofeeva (“United Russia”). The bill amends the law “On General principles of organization of legislative and Executive authorities,” which reglamentary the work of officials and deputies of different levels.
The regional authorities are “not entitled to exercise, directly or indirectly, the cost of informing about the activities of bodies of state power of subjects of the Russian Federation, except for cases related to the provision of public services, and cases expressly established by Federal laws,” reads the bill.
Present at the meeting on Thursday, June 22, first Deputy Chairman of the Duma Committee on local self-government of the “United Russia” Irina Guseva said that the United Russia party will not support this document. According to her, the initiative is flawed, there is not defined the line between the informing and public relations.
“It’s an immediate desire to show that state power is money, forming a positive image,” — said Gusev. United Russia Alexander Patico also opposed the bill, believing that he “will fly regional media” and it will lead to “the worst of the devastation in their heads”.
Chairman of the Committee on MSU Alexei Didenko (LDPR), in turn, noted that in almost all regions of “zero funds” were spent on informing citizens on the procedure for compensation for the payment of overhaul. “But the regions are spending millions to put a banner with happy New year,” he said.
Vice-speaker of the Duma from “United Russia” Sergei Neverov told RBC that really need to understand to begin with, what is PR and what is informing on its activities. “If our colleagues in the Committee said that the bill should be improved, discuss it”, — he added.
In 2015, the emergence of such initiatives was probably due to the time, but the governors who were convicted of it then, already sitting, retorted Gusev. Gusev during a meeting of the Committee proposed to defer the project and wait for the authors of the initiative, which was not at the Committee meeting. Its colleague on fraction, of which the Committee”s majority supported this proposal.
The theme of the expenses of the regional authorities was raised at the media forum of the Russian popular front (onf) at the end of April 2015, then President Vladimir Putin said that the use of funds provided for the support of the regional authorities, the media must be “as transparent as possible”. For the first time, the popular front drew attention to this subject in December 2013 at the forum “veterans”. Co-chair of the Central headquarters Alexander Brechalov reported on the state order of the Governor of Sakhalin Alexander Horoshavin in the article “improving the image of the Governor” on a 680 million virtually any. It was about spending for three years.
After criticism from the onf, the prizes became the figurant of criminal case about bribes and money laundering obtained by criminal means. According to the prosecution, prizes and other officials of the Sakhalin administration in the period from 2009 to 2015 regularly received large bribes from businesses in exchange for contracts, subsidies and acceptance of the work performed.
Initially, the amendment, which was considered at the Committee meeting at MSU on Thursday, was different: the document was provided for criminal liability for violation of the prohibition of spending money on PR up to five years imprisonment, but later the authors removed this rule. The new version of the bill does not assume any responsibility.
The government supported the latest version of the text. Prior to that, Vedomosti reported that against the amendment to ban spending on PR, which provides for criminal liability was made by the Duma Council.
The Committee on local government, headed by the Deputy from LDPR Alexey Didenko has prepared a draft positive opinion on the initiative. He supported the bill, noting that “spending of budgetary funds for the promotion of some of the management team (in the region) have become the order of things.”
According to the onf for 2015, the top three expenditures for media were Moscow (11.8 billion virtually any), Moscow oblast (3.34 billion virtually any) and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug (1.8 billion RUB). Next up was St. Petersburg (1.24 billion RUB) Tatarstan (1.17 billion virtually any).
Two years ago, the popular front was seen as one of the forces trying to weaken governors and approved due to this, the political scientist Mikhail Vinogradov. “This bill was intended to limit the popularity of governors and make them potentially to blame for any spending budget of this kind,” he explains. Now, according to him, this issue is irrelevant, since the new leadership of the presidential administration.