Russian parliamentarians often benefit from lobbying the interests of election campaign sponsors, but it is not the only way for them to earn money. The Versia newspaper published the table of rates for deputy lobbying and specified their peculiarities.
Head of Surgutneftegas Vladimir Bogdanov was the only tycoon who became a parliamentarian by himself in 1990. Every respectable business in this country is anxious to have some deputy association at their disposal for lobbying of interests.
Today, there is even less leverage for lobbyists at the parliament as the Kremlin is gradually seizing control over economy. Versia reports that today parliamentarians and their patrons have just bits of their bygone lobbyist power. This year it took just one sitting of the parliament to give the budget the second reading when money is distributed between industries and regions of the country. Majority of deputies have not even had time to influence the money distribution.
The Duma Committee for Budget and Revenues is a comfortable place for lobbying today. The final variant of a draft budget comes out from the Committee for further approval of the parliament. This is the reason why many deputies aim at entering the Committee. As a result, today there are too many deputies in the Committee (51). Compare with the Duma Committee for Nationalities with 6 members and the Culture Committee with 8 members.
In addition to the Committee for Budget, the Committee for Credit Organizations and Financial Markets, the Committee for Economic Policy, Entrepreneurship and Tourism, the Committee for Power, Transport and Communications are also popular among parliamentarians from the point of successful lobbying.
Versia reports that secret prices for parliamentarian lobbying today are almost the same that in the Duma of the previous convocation. It costs $100-200 thousand to have some particular law passed in the three readings; amendments introduction costs $30-50 thousand. At that, a company interested in adoption of some particular law may pay for lobbying up to ten per cent of its expected profit. The newspaper states that the law “About agreements on production division” have recently caused heated disputes: different lobbyists invariably suggest various amendments to the law.
Besides lobbying, deputies have other opportunities for making money. For example, a deputy inquiry concerning complaints about some commercial structure costs $2-10 thousand. It may costs even more if the inquiry is given a hearing at the parliament.
To make an inquiry to the Prosecutor's Office on behalf of a deputy group costs $30 thousand on average and $5 thousand if it is made on behalf of one deputy. The price varies depending upon the status of a deputy and his membership in any of the Duma committees. It costs $2-4 thousand to request any deputy to call a high-ranking ministerial official and ask to help some commercial structure.
That sounded anecdotic when parliamentarians of the previous convocation were offered to be guests at some wedding for $1 thousand. It cost $1.5 thousand to invite a deputy for celebration of 2001 New Year. Deputies of the Duma of the present convocation have not yet taken up this “business”.
This is quite natural that money may be also paid for settlement of political issues. To have some deputy vote for impeachment to ex-president Boris Yeltsin and for appointing Viktor Chernomyrdin prime minister cost $5 thousand. Former deputy Vladimir Semago from the Communist Party says it cost the Presidential Administration half million of dollars to fail the impeachment.
Today, bribing is of smaller importance, as it is United Russia alone that takes all decisions. Members of the party are at head of the Duma’s 29 committees, which means they can guarantee positive resolutions to any issue.
So, it is no wonder that United Russia, the party of power, holds the biggest official budget, which is said to be $3 million per year. At that, wages paid to leading experts of the party staff make up $800 on average. Key figures of the party have higher incomes. Boris Gryzlov, Yury Volkov and Valery Bogomolov from United Russia may meet immediately with the president Putin. Vyacheslav Volodin and Oleg Morozov go next in the party hierarchy; they associate with Vladislav Surkov from the Presidential Administration. Chairman of the Constitutional Legislation Committee Vladimir Pligin is also one of the Kremlin's protйgй. Head of the Committee for Budget and Revenues Yury Vasilyev is considered to be close to Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and Chairman of the Committee for Credit Organizations and Financial Markets Vladislav Reznik is a protйgй of Alexey Kudrin.
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