Events in Afghanistan and in the Middle East have practically fully absorbed Russian mass media’s attention, while not less interesting events took place in the country. Last week, passions started to boil in the Russian parliament. Centrist factions in State Duma decided to deprive speaker of the Lower House, Gennady Seleznev of decisive vote at the Duma’s council. The motive was very convincing: every faction at the council possess only one vote, while Gennady Seleznev still belongs to CPRF lists, so the Communist Party has one more vote in the Duma’s council. The centrist factions suppose this violates rights of others factions. Gennady Seleznev denied everything and called the centrists factions’ attack a “political intrigue” against him. As this cliche did not work, he changed his tactic and started to say that the question is not in Seleznev, but in political status of the Duma’s speaker. According to Gennady Seleznev, “speaker cannot be the English Queen at the council,” while the centrists prepare namely this role for him. Anyway, the Duma realized the centrists’ proposition. Seleznev was “dethroned,” though who could think this was only the start. Already at the House’s sitting, just before the voting, the agrarians’ leader Kharitonov decided to support his brother-in-arms, though as it turned out later, he did him more harm than good. While discussing the question, Kharitonov proposed to put to the vote the question about confidence with the speaker. The speaker himself did not want to wait for public shame and departed for Spain, where he had to meet with local deputies. In the Duma, rumours appeared about possible resignation of Gennady Seleznev. In their interviews, some factions’ leaders openly spoke about the speaker’s resignation as about the fact. LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky tried on the speaker’s “mantle.” It was obvious, that deputies were serious and would try to realize the Kharitonov’s initiative. Today, the Duma charged the Regulations Committee with preparing a draft document about Gennady Seleznev’s dismissal from the post. It is not for sure that Gennady Seleznev will be deprived of his post, though it is obvious that the centrists decided in this way to frighten communists a little. The left-wing forces are rapidly loosing their positions in the Duma. The next step will most likely be the review of so-called packet agreement. Communists have too many portfolios in the Duma’s committees, while this irritates pro-presidential factions.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/22/38606.html
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart