“It’s good that there is continuity” – Politics – Kommersant

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On Tuesday, the first meeting of the State Duma of the eighth convocation was held, at which the deputies elected the leadership of the chamber and approved the composition of the committees. Vyacheslav Volodin’s candidacy for the post of speaker was not supported by all the elect: for the candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Dmitry Novikov, in addition to the communists themselves, seven representatives of the LDPR and Oksana Dmitrieva (the Growth Party) who returned to the Duma also voted. The Liberal Democratic Party was also not happy with the appearance in the lower chamber of “New people”: Vladimir Zhirinovsky compared the leader of the new party to a “nurse” who sat next to the “chief physician”. The new deputies, who had not yet received cabinets, felt uncomfortable in the parliament building.

The meeting was opened by the first woman-cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (United Russia). According to the Constitution, this must be done by the oldest deputy, which is another United Russia party, Vladimir Resin, but he gave up this honor to a lady. Next to Mrs. Tereshkova on the podium was the second female cosmonaut representing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Svetlana Savitskaya. She congratulated those deputies who “honestly won the elections” and called on to vote for the laws so that they would not be ashamed of them later – this is exactly what, according to Mrs. Savitskaya, the communists do.

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky traditionally criticized those who were in the hall without masks. Galina Khovanskaya, a member of the A Just Russia – For Truth (SRZP) faction, reminded the deputies that they came to the Duma not for cars and other privileges, but “to work for the good of the people”. The leader of the new party in the Duma, New People, Alexei Nechaev, immediately announced that it was necessary to reduce taxes and the “power pressure” on business. And his words about the inadmissibility of compulsory vaccination angered Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who was sitting next to him. “Are we going to die voluntarily?” – he sarcastically turned to Mr. Nechaev.

Mr. Zhirinovsky has a reason to be angry with the new party: the LDPR believes that the New People took votes from the Liberal Democrats in the elections (compared to the last convocation, the LDPR faction has almost halved).

Mrs. Tereshkova, speaking on behalf of United Russia, drew attention to the fact that there will be presidential elections in 2024, and the task of the Duma of the eighth convocation is to “ensure political stability”.

During the break at the exits from the conference room it was quiet and not crowded, which made the journalists sad on this “significant” day. Many deputies elected to the Duma for the first time did not leave the hall, because they simply had nowhere to go – not all of them had received offices yet, and the buffet did not work because of the covid.

After the break, the deputies elected Vyacheslav Volodin as Speaker of the Duma (360 votes in favor), but he was not the only contender for this post: the Communist Party deputy, who was elected to the federal parliament for the fourth time, Dmitry Novikov, 52, a native of the Far East ( 61 votes in favor). In addition to the communists themselves, Mr. Novikov was supported by seven LDPR deputies, including the former governor of the Vladimir region Vladimir Sipyagin, and Boris Chernyshov, who was later elected vice-speaker: as the LDPR explained to Kommersant, this was “a manifestation of opposition solidarity.” When all 11 deputy speakers were elected, Mr. Volodin noticed that the presidium table was not ready for so many people, and instructed the apparatus to deal with this issue so that everyone could get their rightful place.

The Duma also approved the composition of 32 committees (recall, in the seventh convocation there were 26). Most of the deputies have traditionally signed up to the budget committee (29 people), the least of all – to the committee on nationalities affairs (6). However, their composition will still be adjusted: for example, Vladimir Zhirinovsky asked that Boris Paykin, whom he first nominated to vice-speaker from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, and the day before replaced by Boris Chernyshov, be included in the committee on industry as the first deputy chairman. In addition, Galina Khovanskaya, who in the seventh convocation headed the committee on housing and communal services that has now passed to the United Russia party, has not gone anywhere: as they explained to Kommersant in the SRHR, they want to create a commission for her to protect the housing rights of citizens, but so far this issue is suspended, although the leader Party Sergei Mironov “discussed it with the president the day before.”

Oksana Dmitrieva, elected in a single-mandate constituency in St. Petersburg from the Growth Party, joined the budget committee. She will be the only non-factional deputy in the Duma, since all the other “loners” have found allies: Aleksey Zhuravlev from Rodina and Rifat Shaikhutdinov from Civic Platform became members of the LDPR faction (although in the seventh convocation they were not part of the faction), and five self-nominated candidates dispersed among the factions “United Russia”, SRZP and “New People”.

The meeting ended two and a half hours before the meeting with the president in the Kremlin. The deputies, first elected to the State Duma, wandered through the Duma corridors, in their own words, “like restless people,” not knowing where to go. Someone exchanged phone numbers with colleagues, more experienced politicians gave interviews to TV channels. Vladimir Zhirinovsky in front of the cameras continued to express his dissatisfaction with the appearance of a new party in parliament and the fact that Alexei Nechaev was put on the presidium next to him – as “a nurse next to the head physician.” Meanwhile, Vyacheslav Volodin, answering journalists’ questions about the degree of the Duma’s renewal, noted with satisfaction that it is of a medium scale, and “it is good that there is continuity.”

Maria Makutina


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