Duma Deputies Urged Not to ‘Abuse’ Meeting Privileges

The Russian Interior Ministry is calling on State Duma deputies not to abuse the format of “meetings with the electorate” to disrupt public order, a ministry official said on Thursday.

This format is sometimes used by opposition members because it does not require formal permission from the authorities to go ahead, said Yury Demidov, head of the ministry’s public order department. But he said that deputies should ensure that these meetings don’t evolve into something else.

“A deputy’s meeting [with his electorate] cannot grow into a public rally, march or demonstration,” he warned.

Demidov said the tight security arrangements during the ‘March of Millions in Moscow’ on May 6 was caused, among other things, by the “threats and warnings” that had come prior to it.

Another ministry official proposed that detailed instructions be worked out for the police in case of “unforeseen circumstances” during rallies and demonstrations.

Olga Kostina, head of the ministry’s public council, said it was essential to elaborate standing regulations for the police on exactly what they “may do at public events and then spell out their responsibility for violations.”

Russia’s lower house of parliament approved a controversial bill on Tuesday that could see fines for unsanctioned protests rise by as much as two hundred times, which comes in the wake of unprecedented protests against President Putin’s rule.


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