Putin makes himself immune to any criminal offence

The State Duma gave the third reading to the draft federal law "On Amendments to Article 3 of the Federal Law "On Guarantees to the President of the Russian Federation, Who Stopped Executing His Powers, and to Members of His Family."

New Article 92.1 of the Constitution establishes that the President of the Russian Federation, who terminated his powers either due to the expiration of his term in the office or in the event of resignation or persistent inability for health reasons to exercise his powers, shall have immunity. The procedure to deprive the ex-president of immunity is similar to the procedure to dismiss the sitting president of the Russian Federation from power.

The law states that the President of the Russian Federation, who stopped to exercise his powers, cannot be brought to criminal or administrative responsibility, nor can he be detained, arrested, subjected to a search, interrogation or pat search.

This immunity extends to residential and office premises that the ex-president occupies, his vehicles, means of communications, correspondence, documents and luggage.

The law also states that the President of the Russian Federation, who has terminated his powers, can be deprived of immunity by the Federation Council only if the State Duma accuses him of high treason or another serious crime.

  • The Supreme Court also needs to confirm that the actions of the ex-president contain signs of a crime, while the Constitutional Court should provide a conclusion on compliance with the procedure to bring charges.
  • The decision of the State Duma to bring charges, as well as the decision of the Federation Council to revoke immunity from the president must be adopted by the two-thirds of senators and deputies.
  • To initiate the procedure, at least one-third of State Duma deputies should make a relevant decision, while a special commission formed by the State Duma should make a relevant conclusion saying that the procedure must be started.

In accordance with the new law, the ex-president will be granted immunity, regardless of when exactly he held the presidency and when exactly he committed crimes. It will thus be impossible to hold the ex-president accountable for administrative and criminal offences of minor or moderate severity, which include causing bodily harm of even death by negligence (for example, as a result of an accident or in act of self-defense).

Senators, State Duma deputies, as well as former and current judges also enjoy immunity in Russia. For members of the Federal Assembly, in contrast to presidents, the corresponding law prescribes the procedure for bringing them both to administrative and criminal liability on the basis of the Attorney General's submission of impeachment.