The main political events of the outgoing year can be called the authorization to use Russian armed forces in Syria, and the postponement of elections in the state Duma, the creation of Patriotic “stop-list” and sanctions scandals in inter-parliamentary cooperation.
MOSCOW, Dec 14. The outgoing year was memorable for the loud political decisions, such as permission to use the armed forces in Syria, and the postponement of elections in the state Duma, the creation of Patriotic “stop-list” and sanctions scandals in inter-parliamentary cooperation. Were in 2015 and bereavement, including died a political “heavyweight” Yevgeny Primakov. And one of the resonant themes, which undoubtedly will continue in 2016, was the resumption of the investigation of the deaths of members of the Imperial house of Romanov.
The resolution of the Federation Council to use armed forces abroad
The Federation Council has started the autumn session with the first question at the meeting on 30 September considered the appeal of the President to use Russian armed forces abroad. This topic was discussed behind closed doors with participation of the head of the Kremlin administration Sergei Ivanov, representatives of the foreign Ministry and the defense Ministry. Later it became clear that we are talking about operations in Syria, where the Russian space forces from the air will reinforce the government troops in the fight against ISIL. Senators voted “Yes” unanimously, and on the same day, Russian aircraft took part in operations against the terrorists in Syria.
The speaker of the upper chamber Valentina Matvienko has explained this decision by the fact that Syria is in a critical situation and the country can lose its statehood. The head of the Kremlin administration said that Russia is acting at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and intended to apply exclusively to aviation.
Passion for elections
A resonant theme in the past year was the question of holding elections to the state Duma of the seventh convocation. Parliamentarians for the first time in history decided to reduce his powers for three months, voting has been rescheduled from December to September 2016. The initiator of the law on the reconciliation of parliamentary elections with a Single day of polling, the leaders of the factions “United Russia” “Fair Russia” and LDPR, and also the speaker of the lower chamber Sergey Naryshkin. Such changes, according to them, necessary to ensure that the budget for 2017 has a new convocation of the state Duma and, therefore, controlled its execution by the government. The Communist party voted against, calling the initiative unconstitutional and stating that a normal election campaign for September, as all voters are currently on leave and “in the gardens”.
The preparations for the elections are doing all of the party. Their participation in the campaign did not exclude the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev as the Chairman “an United Russia”. However, the final decision about who will head the list of United Russia, will be taken at the Congress in June.
Patriotic “stop list”
In July, the Federation Council has sent to the Prosecutor General, the heads of the foreign Affairs and justice Patriotic “stop-list” of 12 organizations whose activities, according to the senators, undesirable on the territory of Russia. The upper house of Parliament asked the Ministry to take measures to counteract “anti-Russian activity of foreign and international non-governmental organizations”. The list includes the Soros Foundation, national endowment for democracy (NED), international Republican Institute (IRI), national democratic Institute for international Affairs (NDI), the MacArthur Foundation, Freedom House, Foundation Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Foundation “Education for democracy” (FED), East European democratic centre, the Ukrainian world Congress, Ukrainian world coordinating Council, the Crimean field mission on human rights.
At the end of July, the MacArthur Foundation announced the closure of its branch in Moscow, at the same time the Ministry of justice submitted a national Fund in support of democracy in the list of undesirable in the Russian Federation organizations. In November the Prosecutor General’s office acknowledged unwanted activities in Russia two NGOs belonging to the Soros Foundation: the Foundation “open society” (Open Society Foundations) and the Institute “open society Foundation” (OSI Assistance Foundation). The intermediate results of the “stop list” the Federation Council is planning to bring in December.
Sanctions in Parliament
Sanctions policy directly this year touched upon inter-parliamentary cooperation. The question of issuing an American visa to a third person States the Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko invited to the conference of the inter-Parliamentary Union in new York, stretched for several months. As a result a visa to the speaker of the Federation Council issued just two days before the visit, and so a truncated form (she is not allowed to participate in all the activities of the inter-Parliamentary Union) that Matvienko from the trip refused. Together with her in new York decided not to fly the entire delegation of the Federation Council, some senators even suggested that the sanctions list of the head of the state Department John Kerry, on whom they laid the responsibility for what happened.
In January the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has extended sanctions against the Russian delegation over the situation in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea, in response to this the delegation of the Russian Federation has decided to suspend work at the Assembly. The question of the participation of the Russian delegation in PACE session in January in 2016 and payment of dues to the Council of Europe remains open: according to the head of the Duma Committee on international Affairs Alexei Pushkov, the decision on this subject will be made in December.
Russian parliamentarians are faced this year with challenges and other international fora. So, in July the foreign Ministry of Finland refused to give permission to enter the state Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin to participate in the session of the parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe (PA OSCE) in Helsinki in protest, the Russian delegation refused to go.
The largest elections in the regions
The single voting day on September 13 this year was the largest in Russia: throughout the country it has been almost 6 thousand election campaigns, which were distributed to 43,5 thousand mandates. The first election was held in new subjects – Crimea and Sevastopol. The Russians chose governors, mayors and deputies of legislative assemblies.
Powers in 2015, expired 14 governors, nine of them were appointed acting governors, besides a number of leaders asked the President about resignation to participate in early elections. Were this year and other staff changes that led to the change of leadership of the subjects of the RF: the Krasnodar region residents had to prematurely choose a Governor because the previous Governor was headed by the Ministry of agriculture on Sakhalin elections were held in connection with the removal of the head of the subject on suspicion of corruption, and in the Amur region, as elected in 2012, the Governor went to work in Sakhalin.
Overall, according to most experts, the elections were held without violations and no surprises: all existing governors confirmed their status as the leaders in the number of candidates of “United Russia”, CPRF, LDPR and “Fair Russia”.
New faces of the upper house
According to the results of the September polling day has been updated significantly the composition of the Federation Council, which is formed by regional authorities. In the upper house of Parliament came 26 new senators, and many of them have held senior positions: former Minister of agriculture Nikolay Fedorov is unoccupied six months a chair of the first Vice-speaker, United Russia party, Franz Klintsevich, the first Deputy Chairman of the defence Committee, the famous defender of family interests Elena Mizulina — the first Deputy Chairman of the constitutional Committee.
The Secretary General of the SCO Dmitry Mezentsev also go to work in the Federation Council, but would do so on 31 December of this year. But initially assigned to a Senator from the Kaliningrad region, the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin have preferred the Senator the opportunity to work in the governing bodies of international non-governmental organizations.
Political loss — farewell to Primakov
This summer Russia said farewell to former Russian Prime Minister and former foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov. An outstanding politician and diplomat, who is often called “crisis Manager”, died on June 26, at 86-year life and was buried at Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow. At a farewell ceremony attended by hundreds of people. Among them were top officials of the state, Russian public and political figures of different rank, the representatives of foreign States. Words of sorrow and regret also came from all over the world.
In the last journey of Evgeny Primakov, at the suggestion of his grandson, carried with applause. Funeral of ex-Minister in the Novodevichy monastery in Moscow, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill.
Primakov said Russian President Vladimir Putin, was able effectively to solve the most difficult tasks to achieve maximum results on all posts and left a very great legacy. His departure, the President said, is tremendous grief for the whole country.
The case of the last Emperor
The outgoing year will be remembered also by the resumption of the investigation of the deaths of members of the house of the Romanovs opened in 1993 in connection with the discovery of a group of burials in the vicinity of Yekaterinburg. At the request of Patriarch Kirill in the present studies of the remains of Nicholas II and his father ─ the Emperor Alexander III. The positive results of such examination, in the opinion of the ROC, there will be indisputable proof of the authenticity of the remains of Nicholas II and his family.
Already exhumed the remains of Nicholas II and his wife Alexandra Fedorovna. Also, samples were taken of blood from the clothes of the Emperor Alexander II. The first results of additional studies, as reported by the investigation, confirmed the authenticity of the remains of the last Russian Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, but studies, which can take up to two months, depending on the selection result of the examinations, will be continued. In case of positive results, the authorities are ready in February to hold a ceremony of their reburial, but as Holy relics.
Care Prokhorov from the policy
In the spring of this year, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov finally retired from politics after leaving he founded the party “Civil platform”. Ideological differences in the organization started to Mature last year, and the last straw in the split was the participation of representatives of the party in the action “Intimidad” on February 21. This decision, according to Prokhorov, was taken solely by the Chairman of the political Affairs Committee Rifat Shaikhutdinov. In March, at the initiative of the founder held an extraordinary meeting, which, in fact, and put an end to the history of the “Civil platform” Prokhorov as a created party.
After Prokhorov Federal party bodies left the majority of the members, and the organization again headed Shaikhutdinov, which a few hours before the meeting was dismissed from the post of head of the political Affairs Committee. Suggestions about the fate of Prokhorov “Civic platform” – either to liquidate or to change the name — were not supported by the Congress. Thus, after the change of leadership of the party remained under the old name, but moved to a new position: “right-wing liberal, but Patriotic,” as he described them Shaikhutdinov. The party also announced his intention to participate in the upcoming 2016 parliamentary elections.
Rearrangement and loss in the media
Major shake-UPS this year have touched the media. The new General Director of NTV instead of Vladimir kulistikova, who held the position for more than ten years, was appointed Deputy General Director VGTRK Alexey Zemsky. The post of the chief editor of NTV, who had earlier also stood in for Kulistikov, was taken by Alexandra Kosterina. Kulistikov became the Advisor to the General Director of VGTRK.
Changes happened and in the print media: the former Director General of the publishing house “Kommersant” Demyan Kudryavtsev has acquired from the Finnish Sanoma media holding a 33.3% stake of “Vedomosti”. Later foreign owners of Dow Jones and Pearson announced the upcoming sale of its shares in the Russian newspaper family Kudryavtseva, making it 100% owner of the publication. Chief editor of the newspaper remained Tatyana Lysova. Earlier Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a resonant law limiting to 20% the maximum possible share of foreign shareholders in the capital of the Russian media.
The year was marked by loss and to the media. Russian media “heavyweight” — the former press Minister and the former head of holding “Gazprom-media” Mikhail Lesin has died of a heart attack on 58-m to year of life and was buried in Los Angeles. Friends and colleagues called him a man of action and “the Bulldozer” for his ability to set ambitious goals and implement them.