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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Duma Deputies Approve New Rodina as 5th Faction

The State Duma on Friday approved the creation of a new rival nationalist faction, meaning that when the chamber reconvenes in September it will have five factions rather than four, and two of them will be called Rodina.

In its final session before the summer break, the Duma voted by 340 to 26 to register Sergei Baburin's faction of nine deputies under the name Rodina: People's Will -- Socialist United Party of Russia. The name includes the names of two of the three parties that formed the Rodina bloc after the 2003 elections.

Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said that neither the law nor the Duma's procedures had spelled out in detail how such conflicts should be resolved.

"We have been engaged in intensive consultations to resolve this legal collision that occurred for the first time in the history of four parliaments," said Oleg Kovalyov, the chairman of the Duma Management Committee.

Baburin, who was ousted earlier this month from Dmitry Rogozin's Rodina faction, said he expected more deputies to join him. "That the right thing has been done and has been done efficiently," Baburin told reporters Friday.

Rogozin called the registration illegal and said he would sue the Duma.

"The Duma's procedures are not some underpants that can be washed all the time and remodeled depending on fashion," Rogozin told reporters. He called for Baburin and his supporters to wear ribbons to distinguish them from his own Rodina faction.

"It was not us who wrote and staged this vaudeville, but we had to resolve it somehow," said Oleg Morozov, a senior United Russia deputy.

After Baburin was ousted from the Rodina faction, eight of his supporters also quit the faction and joined Baburin in requesting the Duma to register a new faction. The Management Committee said it had registered the new faction last Tuesday, but on Wednesday, Gryzlov said the registration was premature.

On Thursday, the Duma Council met twice and decided to put the issue to a full Duma vote Friday.

Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank, said the split would complicate Rogozin's efforts in fighting elections to regional legislatures. "This is an obvious defeat for Rogozin's Rodina, but it is not fatal," he said.

 On Friday, the Duma passed dozens of other bills in a flurry, including an amendment postponing the introduction of self-rule in local government from January 2006 to January 2009.

It also passed a bill protecting business competition, and voted to release independent deputy Mikhail Zadornov from his duties. A member of the liberal Yabloko party and a former finance minister, Zadornov had submitted his resignation to take up a job as president of Guta Bank.