The State Duma passed the law on nationalization in its first reading on January 23. Four variants of the law were submitted for the consideration of the deputies. They were written by Adrian Puzansky (the People’s deputy faction), Vasily Shandybin (the Communist Party), Vladimir Zhirinovsky (the Liberal democratic party), and Ivan Grachev (an independent deputy). The variant submitted by Adrian Puzansky was preferred to the rest, despite the fact that the governmental and presidential representative Alexander Kotenkov stated his negative opinion of all the submitted variants. Nevertheless, the voting took place, and the law was passed with 239 votes (79 deputies voted against the law).
The adopted law provides for the right to purchase property at market prices, but the proprietor will have to substantiate his claims. In addition, property can be nationalized only for the purpose of protecting the strategic security of the state.
The same way as the deputies enthusiastically passed the law, the parliamentarians were enthusiastic when they repealed it on January 25. Two-hundred-sixty-one deputies voted for the repeal, and 136 deputies voted against it.
It is interesting that the law on nationalization was passed on Wednesday on an initiative of the Duma itself. Mainly representatives of the left-wing forces together with the People’s deputy group voted for the law. However, in two days after the voting, the deputies were brought around. Indeed, did the deputies expect the government and the president to shut the eyes to the law? No, the deputies knew perfectly well that it would never happen. Probably, the left-wing forces and the Communists are trying to show their influence on the law-making process.
A governmental variant of the nationalization law is sure to be submitted to the State Duma, but it is hardly to be more radical than the moderate variant submitted by deputy Puzanovsky. The government will try to minimize the negative impression that the law may make on foreign investors. During diplomatic talks, top Russian authorities together with the president often have to persuade foreign businessmen to invest in the Russian industrial production.
One more conclusion can be drawn from the problem with the nationalization law. It was one more case when the parliamentarians demonstrated the degree of their independence. The haste about the repeal of the law confirms once again the thesis that the parliament depends upon the president’s will. However, this was proved long ago. If the law submitted by Puzanovsky should be adopted and brought into effect, this would be a sort of a sensation.
Foreign investors should not be afraid of anything yet. The president and the government control the situation in the State Duma. And if the deputies disobey and pass another uncoordinated law, the situation can be easily amended.
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/25/36076.html