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Sergey Baburin, the leader of the People's Will Party, in his office in the State Duma building
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July 08, 2005
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State Duma Clones Rodina
// By amending its regulations
Party life
The State Duma Council decided to put the question of introducing amendments to The State Duma regulations at today's meeting of the lower house. The amendments are supposed to legalize the formation of a second Rodina faction headed by Duma Vice Speaker Sergey Baburin, the leader of the People's Will Party. As Dmitry Rogozin, the leader of Rodina-1, told Kommersant, the council decided to call Baburin's group the Rodina Coalition Faction.
The cause of the latest scandal within the former Rodina coalition was Baburin's expulsion from the faction of the same name for dissident activities [Kommersant reported on this in detail on June 29]. In response, he and six of his supporters requested the State Duma leadership to back the formation of their own faction. On July 1, Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said he was not ruling out this possibility, but added that since there were no similar precedents in the Duma, the regulations committee would be instructed to study all means of solving the problem and present its proposals to the house council on July 7.

As a source in the Duma leadership, who requested anonymity, told Kommersant, contrary to the opinion that the Kremlin had initiated the formation of a second Rodina, authorship of the idea belonged to the leadership of United Russia. According to the source, this unexpected proposal was initially treated as a joke in the presidential administration, but after thinking about it, they gave the go-ahead. However, Oleg Kovalev, the chairman of the State Duma's regulations committee didn't wait for the council. On July 6, the committee registered the second Rodina faction on the grounds that all parties represented in the Duma (including those in the Rodina coalition) could form their own factions. At that time, Kovalev told not only told journalists about the appearance of Rodina-2, but also acknowledged that Vasily Shetakov, the lone member of the United Socialist Party of Russia (the third cofounder of the coalition), could also get his own faction.

The next step should have been the passage of amendments to the regulations obliging both factions to add the name of the parent party to their names. But this plan fell through on Wednesday morning during a discussion of the agenda for the plenary meeting. First, Kovalev reported on the committee's decision and the need to pass the amendments. Thus, two factions with the same name have appeared in the Duma today. Not yet, Oleg Ivanovich, Gryzlov, who was chairing the meeting, said, setting him straight. We'll discuss your information tomorrow in the council. It was unclear whether the committee's decision remained in force after these words. I don't know; I can't comment on Gryzlov's words, a dumbfounded Kovalev said after the meeting. But this didn't stop Baburin from holding his faction's first meeting that same evening, at which party regulations were passed and a chief of staff and three new members were elected.

The State Duma Council didn't clarify the situation either when it met yesterday morning. Kovalev proposed a discussion of the question of forming the faction at today's plenary meeting, and Rogozin in turn promised a court challenge of the decision to form a faction with the same name. the Duma majority leaders were also displeased with the response of the Central Election Committee, which informed Rogozin that since the procedure for forming factions was not regulated by legislation, the Duma had to settle this question itself. In the end, the council members decided to continue the discussion of this question in the evening after a meeting of council members and faction leaders with Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

Journalists in the Duma's press service reported that the council would meet right in the White House. However, it was learned that council members secretly returned to the Duma and continued the discussion in Speaker Gryzlov's office. In late evening, Kommersant learned that the council had decided to submit a number of amendments to the Duma regulations to the lower house today for discussion. There is no doubt of the legality of forming a faction, but a number of conflicts have arisen relating to its function and name, which the amendments should clarify, Kovalev explained to Kommersant. As Rogozin told Kommersant, he managed to defend his faction's name at the council meeting, and the competing faction will be called the Rodina Coalition Faction.

Meanwhile, the Rodina-2 faction sustained its first losses yesterday without even having time to become legitimate. At an extraordinary plenum of the People's Will Party held at Izmailovo, State Duma deputy Nikolai Pavlov, who is Baburin's deputy in the party, resigned his party authority and said he would remain a member of Rogozin's faction.
Yury Chernega

All the Article in Russian as of July 08, 2005

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