Belarus, coronavirus and West's pressure on the UN: how State Duma's autumn session opened
Elections in Russia, Belarus and vaccinations against coronavirus were the topic of discussion for parliamentarians at the first autumn session of the State Duma held on 15 September. The deputies also paid special attention to the pressure of the West on the UN policy — a corresponding statement was even adopted within the meeting. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.
“Belarus will be dependent on us”
The speech of the chairperson of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Volodin, which preceded the opening of the session, was partially devoted to events in Belarus. The speaker pointed out that “the attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the sovereign state” continue.
“For our part, we must do everything to prevent this. Who will be in power should be decided by the Belarusian people, not by NATO or European States," Volodin drew applause. “In this regard, I ask you, colleagues, to work more actively in the parliamentary assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia. Through the adoption of model laws, we must reach a new level of cooperation in the interests of fraternal peoples.
Vyacheslav Volodin: “I ask you, colleagues, to work more actively in the parliamentary assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia. Through the adoption of model laws, we must reach a new level of cooperation in the interests of fraternal peoples”
Leaders of various political factions also touched upon this sensitive issue in their speeches. For example, the head of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, said that “Belarus is a union state”, therefore, “this is our common cause”. According to the politician, now everything must be done to “support the course of independence and the standard of living that has been formed in recent years by Lukashenko”.
In turn, the head of LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, expressed dissatisfaction with the “Stalinist foreign policy”, because of which Belarus, in his opinion, will “be dependent on us”.
“I have no doubt that Alexander Lukashenko has won this election. I have doubts about the "80%" figure, but let the Belarusians judge it. But it is unacceptable to act so harshly with own people. In my opinion, one of the main reasons for what is happening there now is the lack of a serious parliamentary party and the parliament as a whole. The Belarusian parliament is weak," said Sergey Mironov, the head of Fair Russia faction.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky expressed dissatisfaction with the “Stalinist foreign policy”, because of which Belarus, in his opinion, will “be dependent on us”
Mironov demanded to remove polling stations from schools
The head of United Russia faction, Sergey Neverov, reminded that the elections that ended on September 13 were held for the first time within three days — this is primarily because the pandemic required special attention to safety.
“The election campaign was large-scale and covered 83 regions. More than 77,000 deputies and heads of municipal level were elected, by-elections of deputies to the State Duma of the Russian Federation were held, and so on. The turnout was quite high," Neverov gave an assessment of the elections.
Zhirinovsky and Zyuganov spoke negatively about the elections. The latter said that “people do not want to go, they are going, but they are looking more and more from under their brows”. The head of Communist Party faction also said that he and his colleagues do not recognise elections where “their governors were dismissed”. According to the leader of the LDPR, the voting procedure has fueled protest sentiments in Russian society.
“Despite the fact that we recorded violations, we have no reason to question the results," said Sergey Mironov. “Summing up the results of the elections, I can say that I am glad that our faction will increase. By the way, a member of our party became the governor of Chuvashia.
Sergey Mironov: “I am glad that our faction will increase. By the way, a member of our party became the governor of Chuvashia”
Further, the head of Fair Russia faction voiced several proposals regarding the elections. First, according to the politician, continuing to use the three-day voting format will be a big mistake that can cause serious complaints. Second, it is necessary to abolish the municipal filter for gubernatorial elections. Third, Mironov suggested “separating politics and education” by removing polling stations from school territories.
“Where are vaccinations against coronavirus?"
According to Vyacheslav Volodin, many deputies have already had coronavirus. He was talking about about 50 people's deputies. The speaker also said that the pandemic today remains a challenge that must be taken into account when organising the work of the State Duma. Then Volodin smoothly switched to the work of his European colleagues.
“A number of European parliaments both self-isolated and have not returned. There is a discussion in PACE about how to hold meetings and whether it is possible to use the videoconferencing format. As for PACE, we hope that this is a place for discussions and they will find the courage to come together. They are concerned about one question — what else can be done in the form of sanctions and how to do dirt on our country. They will submit this issue for discussion to the next meeting. They want to drag this through the videoconferencing regime in order to put labels of accusation on, to act in violation of all laws themselves, and so that no one will prevent them from seizing power in sovereign Belarus. We insist that discussions be conducted in person and openly. We have arguments, and we will definitely voice them," said the chairperson of the State Duma.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky: “A million people have been infected in our country, and we are also to blame for this. What thanks can I say for the lack of vaccinations for deputies? Where are vaccinations against coronavirus?"
The leader of LDPR, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who raised the issue of vaccination, again returned the discussion to Russia.
“A million people have been infected in our country, and we are also to blame for this. What thanks can I say for the lack of vaccinations for deputies? Where are vaccinations against coronavirus? But we are ready to send them to Belarus! Until the whole country is vaccinated… The parliament should forbid it," the politician was indignant.
To Zhirinovsky's attacks, the chairperson of the State Duma of Russia replied that the principle of “deputies out of turn” does not suit us.
“We must do everything to make the vaccine available to everyone," Volodin continued. “There is also an opportunity to take part in vaccination as part of the ongoing experiment. A number of our colleagues agreed and signed up as volunteers to participate. Everything else will probably be wrong. It is autumn now. We are coming to the time when it would be right to get vaccinated against the flu. My advice — do it.
“Washington's attempt to put the UN at the service of its interests”
On the same day as the meeting of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, the 75th anniversary session of the UN General Assembly was held. The State Duma deputies who gathered at the meeting paid special attention to the topic of the United Nations and even adopted a corresponding statement on the inadmissibility of the West's pressure on the UN.
“It is important for us to conduct an open dialogue with the parliaments of all countries based on the principles of trust. PACE and the European Parliament should not become a platform for unfounded accusations, political provocations and pressure. We are against it. It is unacceptable to weaken the role of the UN as the only legitimate international body that is responsible for stability in the world. Washington's attempt to put the UN at the service of its interests leads to the undermining of international law — just like the US decision to withdraw from the WHO and blame it for the spread of coronavirus," said Vyacheslav Volodin.
Gennady Zyuganov: “Europe, using Navalny, organised a powerful provocation against Russia, trying to disrupt the Nord Stream”
Gennady Zyuganov also added put his two cents in the topic, saying that Europe, “using Navalny, organised a powerful provocation against Russia, trying to disrupt the Nord Stream”. According to the politician, this greatly worsens international relations.
“This organisation has proved its impartiality over the decades, and that it is a system-forming and coordinating organization in international affairs. The UN has proved that there is no alternative to resolving conflicts in different parts of the world," said the head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs, Leonid Slutsky.
Slutsky called on his colleagues to adopt a statement in support of the organisation's coordinating role, criticising attempts to reformat it. The politician explained that the document is aimed at stopping attempts by Western countries to undermine the role of the UN in world politics.