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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Speaker: No April Fools, Kudrin Should Be Fired


Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin

The Finance Ministry called it a bad April Fools' Day joke, but State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov said it was no laughing matter.

Seleznyov on Tuesday accepted a recommendation put forward by the head of the lower house's ethics committee, Galina Strelchenko of Unity, that lawmakers vote on the removal of Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and the ministry's treasurer Tatyana Nesterenko.

Stelchenko said the reason Kudrin, who is also a deputy prime minister, and Nesterenko, who handles budget appropriations for the ministry, should be fired is that many deputies' assistants have not been paid for three months.

"This is due to one simple reason -- these two [Finance Ministry] bodies are incapable of coordination," RBC quoted Seleznyov as saying.


State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov

Seleznyov said he would vote "with both hands" in favor of the idea and scheduled a debate on a non-binding resolution for Wednesday. "And this is not an April Fools' Day joke," he said, adding that "there hadn't been a single joke" in the Duma all day.

However, the Finance Ministry denied that it owed back wages, issuing a statement that called the accusation a "bad joke."

All salaries to all deputies' assistants "have been made on time and in full," the ministry said.

However, the ministry did say that the Duma administration had failed to sign agreements with a number of regional administrations by which assistants are paid from regional budgets, which are the Duma then reimburses with its own funds.

The ministry suggested that the Duma clean up its own house and said it hoped that "the loud statements of specific deputies are not connected to the start of their individual election campaign."

Oleg Kovalyov, the deputy leader of the pro-Kremlin Unity faction in the Duma, said Strelchenko's views do not reflect those of other Unity deputies.

"This is an internal issue and concerns the relationship between the State Duma and the Finance Ministry."