Volodin opposes fact checking of Medvedev after FBK investigation

Volodin opposes fact checking of Medvedev after FBK investigation
Vyacheslav Volodin and Dmitry Medvedev

On Wednesday, the Russian State Duma will consider a protocol instruction from the Communist Party demanding to check the facts from Navalny's investigation on Medvedev. The Communists’ initiative was not supported by the speaker of the lower house, Vyacheslav Volodin, who declared that "it is wrong to involve the Duma in this story".

On Wednesday, April 5, the State Duma will consider the protocol instruction proposed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation to appeal to law enforcement agencies with a demand to check the reports about the property of Premier Dmitry Medvedev from the investigation of Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), RBC learned by two members of the lower house council that discussed the initiative.

Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin opposed the request at the meeting, RBC's sources reported. According to one of them, the speaker believes that "supporting the instruction means supporting Navalny."

Volodin told the MPs that he does not see any reason to consider the instruction, since there is no "affected party and there is no bribery", and the FBK film "spreads false information," another source in the lower house council told RBC. According to him, Volodin believes that "it is wrong to involve the Duma in this story."

The speaker said that "all factions have an understanding that it is necessary to unite in order to protect the prime minister from the attacks of Navalny, who is singing with the voice of Western special services," a participant in the meeting told RBC.

In early March, Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation released an investigation into Medvedev's residences and associated funds, which received 70 billion rubles ($1.25 billion) in the form of donations. The Head of Government owns "huge plots of land in the most elite areas, yachts, apartments in old mansions, agro-complexes and wineries in Russia and abroad," the investigation said.

Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalia Timakova announced immediately after the investigation that the FBK film "has a clearly pronounced pre-election character, as it says itself." According to her, it makes no sense to comment on the "propaganda attacks of the oppositional and convicted personality".

The lack of government response to the investigation led to mass anti-corruption actions in Russian cities.

Prime Minister Medvedev commented on FBK's accusations a month later, on April 4, saying that the investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation on his real estate and related funds was made on "compote principle". "They take all sorts of dross, collect nonsense about me, if it concerns me at all, about my friends and people I have never heard of. About some places where I've been. About some places, that I’ve never even heard of. They collect some papers, photographs, clothes. Then, they create this thing and present it," Medvedev said during a meeting with workers of the Tambosky Bekon (Tambov Bacon) plant.

The Communists propose to instruct the Duma Security Committee to ask the security forces and the registration authorities for information and organize a check on the facts about the alleged illegal activities of the charity foundations and individuals mentioned in the FBK film. This is necessary to "understand the degree of reliability of the examples voiced by A.A. Navalny in He Is Not Your Dimon. The CPRF proposes to bring the people mentioned in the movie to justice, or those involved in the publication of materials, if they are found to be unreliable. "

The LDPR and Spravedlivaya Rossiya are not yet ready to voice their position on this instruction. The RBC source in the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia said that the MPs of the faction have not seen the text of the instruction. According to the source, the faction will decide on the issue on Wednesday in the hall of plenary sessions.

The RBC source close to Spravedlivaya Rossiya top officials said that this party has not seen the text of the Communist Party instruction either and has not discussed it at the faction today." "But we still do not rule out that we will support it after we get familiarized with it," he said. On March 29, the leader of Spravedlivaya Rossiya Sergey Mironov called on Medvedev to respond to the investigation by the Anti-Corruption Foundation.

Even if all three opposition factions vote in favor of the document, they will not be able to accept it because of a lack of votes, since 343 out of 450 members of the Duma of the seventh convocation belong to the party in power.

One of the authors of the initiative, Communist MP Valery Rashkin, previously said to RBC that if the protocol instruction does not receive the necessary support of parliamentarians, the CPRF intends to initiate a parliamentary investigation against Medvedev. At least 90 signatures of parliamentarians are needed to establish an investigation commission by the Duma, the Communist Party MP said. The Communist Party in the Duma of the seventh convocation is represented by 42 MPs, the LDPR by 39, Spravedlivaya Rossiya by 23. That means that all three opposition factions will be able to initiate the issue on the parliamentary commission jointly.

The communists will not be able to renounce the intention they have publicly voiced, political scientist Yekaterina Shulman told RBC. "The desire to take advantage of the wave of protests to somehow promote himself in the pre-election period is obvious. Volodin is a member of the party headed by Medvedev, so his task is to demonstrate that he opposes the idea of an investigation against the Prime Minister”, the expert says. "Volodin positions himself as the head of the entire Duma, he does not like it that it is from his ‘department’ – though the Duma is not a department, of course – that politically incorrect signals would emerge."

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