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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gryzlov Says Rival Rodina Not Yet a Faction

State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said Wednesday that the chamber's Management Committee had jumped the gun in granting Sergei Baburin's group of nine nationalist deputies permission to set up a faction to rival Rodina.

Gryzlov told the Duma that the Management Committee, headed by senior United Russia deputy Oleg Kovalyov, had been asked to look into the split in Rodina and report back to the Duma Council on Thursday, but had not been tasked with making any decision on a new faction.

"Making any other step would be premature," Gryzlov said, Interfax reported. The faction "has not been formed yet," he said.

Last week, 26 of Rodina's 40 Duma deputies voted to expel Baburin, citing his ambition to split the faction. Deputies loyal to Dimitry Rogozin, the faction's leader, claimed that Baburin was told by Kremlin officials to engineer a split.

Baburin had asked Kovalyov to register his faction, also under the name of Rodina.

On Tuesday, Kovalyov said that the new faction had been registered in accordance with the law.

Rogozin said Wednesday that Gryzlov had reversed "an illegal unconstitutional decision," over which he said Tuesday he would sue the Duma.

"The management committee has usurped the right to form new factions, and ... I suggest that the issue of Kovalyov abusing his powers should be raised," Rogozin said, Interfax reported.

Baburin's spokesman Yury Bondarenko said that the new faction now existed because Kovalyov had given Baburin the registration papers Tuesday.

Baburin said that if Gryzlov were to ban his faction it would be against the law.

"Gryzlov's words indicate that the Duma majority might decide not to act in accordance with the law," Baburin said, Interfax reported.

The final word on a rival Rodina faction is expected from the Duma Council on Thursday.

Deputies from three nationalist parties formed the Rodina faction after the December 2003 Duma elections. It included Baburin's People's Will party, Rogozin's Russian Regions party, which last year was renamed Rodina, and the United Socialist Party of Russia, headed by Baburin ally Vladimir Shestakov, who quit Rodina after Baburin's expulsion.

Baburin and Shestakov have said that, as leaders of two of the parties that founded the Rodina faction, they have the right to form a new faction under the Rodina name.