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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Appeal on Gryzlov's Dual Posts

A group of Communist deputies on Tuesday asked the Justice Ministry to issue a warning to United Russia over Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov's leadership post in the party.

The Justice Ministry refused, saying Gryzlov was not breaking any law by holding the two posts.

The law does not explicitly bar government officials from joining parties, but it does ban them from holding senior positions in their parties.

If a party breaks the law, the Justice Ministry must issue an official warning and, if the party does not remove the government official from its ranks within two months, the ministry can ask a court to suspend its activities.

Gryzlov is one of the four co-chairmen of United Russia's higher council.

Communist deputies including Sergei Glazyev, Viktor Ilyukhin and Igor Rodionov fired off a letter to Justice Minister Yury Chaika on Tuesday asking him to issue a warning to the pro-Kremlin party.

It took the Justice Ministry just a few hours to decide that the law was not being broken because the higher council is not an executive body of United Russia.

"Boris Gryzlov has not violated the letter of the law," ministry spokesman Boris Kalyagin said in a telephone interview Wednesday evening.

United Russia officials dismissed the Communist appeal. Gryzlov "is not a party member and is fulfilling his duties as a chairman ... only in his spare time," a member of United Russia's general council, Konstantin Kosachev, was quoted by local media as saying.

Ilyukhin, however, said that Gryzlov has used his Interior Ministry car to travel to United Russia gatherings and even handed out party cards at a police station in the Tver region. Ilyukhin told Gazeta that senior Interior Ministry officials have complained to him that they are "tired of running errands for United Russia."

On paper, the party's higher council is an advisory body. But its four rotating co-chairmen are all powerful political players. In addition to Gryzlov, they include Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, Tatar President Mintimer Shaimiyev and Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu. Its executive bodies are the central executive committee and the general council, which oversees day-to-day operations.