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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

State Duma Considers Ethics Code

Itar-TassLiberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky scraps with other deputies in the State Duma in 2005.
State Duma deputies beware: Swearing, fist-fighting or skipping sessions could cost a month or two of pay.

The Duma is to consider an ethics code next month aimed at improving attendance and harnessing rowdy deputies, Gennady Raikov, head of the Duma's Credentials and Ethics Commission, said Monday.

Raikov, however, said he did not have much hope that deputies would ever behave. "This is the ninth code of its kind to be submitted to the Duma, and regretfully none has ever been adopted," he said, Interfax reported.

The latest code, initially drafted by the commission in 2002 and then rewritten several times, is now being reviewed by the Duma's legal department and will be distributed to the deputies within two weeks, said the commission's head of staff, Nikolai Shalyapin.

Under the proposed rules, formally called the Code of Parliamentary Ethics, a deputy who skips sessions, uses obscene language in the Duma building or engages in a fist fight risks being stripped of the right to speak in the parliament and even barred from attending up to 10 sessions. The deputy will not collect a salary during the suspension period, meaning that pay could be withheld for up to seven weeks since the Duma holds six to seven sessions per month, Raikov said.

Deputies earn 91,000 rubles ($3,400) per month, Raikov said.

The draft also has a clause that allows Duma deputies to report violations by their colleagues to the media.

Eleven fights have broken out in the post-Soviet parliament, the most recent on March 30, 2005, when Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party, charged at a member of the nationalist Rodina faction, Andrei Savelyev. Savelyev suffered a bloody nose, while Zhirinovsky, who has participated in most of the 11 fights, claimed a concussion.