Dmitry Litvinovich: The new Federation Council, a new speaker, and new objectives

Sergey Mironov, who was elected the new chairman of the Federation Council on Wednesday, decided to take the bull by the horns at once. Mironov believes that the upper house “must be elected by the people like it happens with the parliament.” As a RIA Novosti correspondent informed, Mironov suggested to change the forming order of the upper house during a conversation with journalists. Mironov stated that the staff of the Federation Council would completely change from January 1, 2002; it will consist not of the heads of the regions but of their representatives. “I can now see a lot of bright politicians of the federal level in the house. The staff of the Federation Council is very strong, and those who are going to come here, will represent the interests of the regions and assist in the normal coordination of the positions of both the regional and federal power,” – said Mironov.

Sergey Mironov believes that the Federation Council must concentrate its work on the legislative activity; he even proposed to make up a five-year plan of such work.

The activity of the new speaker attracted a lot of attention from mass media. Everyone understood that there would soon be reforms in the Federation Council. It is clear when Yegor Stroyev left, as it was a very symbolic event. It put an end to the era that is called “the Yeltsin era” in Russia. The vertical structure of power, which is now being constructed by the Kremlin, turned the Federation Council into a regular working institution, subordinated to the presidential administration.

The new speaker will certainly try to breathe new life into it. Well then, good luck. The rules of the game have changed a bit, though, and Mironov does not have enough space for such a manoeuvre. However, the Federation Council still has something anyway. The constitutional authority of the upper house will still be rather considerable, whereas the Council of State, in which the governors were moved, remains a non-constitutional advisory board.

It should be stated here that the competence of the senate embraces not only the consideration of the laws passed by the Duma. The Federation Council votes for the candidacies to the Constitutional and Supreme courts, nominated by the president; the Federation Council appoints the prosecutor general and dismisses him from his post.

It is hard to imagine that the new senate will stand up against the president’s will. All these novelties that were stated by Sergey Mironov today had most likely been coordinated with the Kremlin beforehand.

Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru

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Translated by Dmitry Sudakov