The Federation Council completes the autumn parliamentary session

MOSCOW, December 25. /Corr. Sergey Izotov/. The Federation Council completes the autumn parliamentary session.

The parliamentary session was busy and productive

The Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko noted that this session was very intense given the difficult international economic and financial situation. According to her, the Senate approved the laws “covers all spheres of life of the country.” “The work of the upper house during the year was more active, more productive, and most importantly, we are confident that we have not passed a single law in necessary and which weren’t entirely sure” – she said in an interview with reporters on the eve of the closing of the parliamentary session.

At last this year plenary session of the upper house of Parliament, the senators will have to consider more than 100 issues, including a number of high-profile laws.

In the framework of “government hour” on measures for creation of conditions for priority development of the Far East will tell the Minister of the Russian Federation for Far East development Alexander Galushka.

Extensive international agenda

In the international block of the agenda of parliamentarians will discuss the ratification of several international treaties, including the agreement with Abkhazia on pensions for Russian citizens living in the Republic. Also scheduled consideration of two agreements with Argentina, the agreement with the Lebanese Republic and the intergovernmental agreement with Cambodia.

However, in the sphere of close attention of the Federation Council will have before it the issue of relations with Ukraine. So, senators will discuss the suspension from 1 January 2016 to the Treaty on the free trade area (FTA) with that country.

The draft Federal law “On suspending the Russian Federation of the Treaty on the free trade zone in Ukraine” was submitted to the Duma by the President on 17 December and 22 December, the document was unanimously adopted at the session of the lower house of Parliament. According to the explanatory note, the law provides for the suspension of preferential trade regime with Ukraine in order to prevent threats to the economic security of Russia.

As emphasized during the discussion of this issue at the meeting of the house Committee on international Affairs by its Chairman Konstantin Kosachev, the decision to suspend the Russian Federation from January 1, 2016, of the Agreement on FTA with Ukraine is in full compliance with international law. “Any approval by the commissioners of the European Commission or the representatives of the Ukrainian government, and now is heard a lot that the Russian actions, Russian decision contrary to international law – are absolutely groundless”, – said the Senator.

At the last meeting of the autumn session of the Federation Council members will also discuss repayment and extrajudicial settlement of a debt of inhabitants of the Crimea and Sevastopol before the Ukrainian banks.

The issue of money-laundering

The main issue for the economic agenda of the Federation Council will become the extension to 30 June 2016 inclusive term of money-laundering. The proposal was made by the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin in the message to the Federal Assembly.

The law “is proposed to extend the act from 8 June 2015, which was the deadline for voluntary Declaration of assets, Bank accounts for the purposes of legal integration of funds and property from offshore jurisdictions within the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. Term expires on 31 December of the current year, the law provides for the extension of this period”, noted the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on budget and financial markets Vitaly Shuba.

Under current law, the withdrawal of foreign property and Bank deposits of offshore companies in the framework of legalization is not taxed (after translating it to Russian jurisdiction taxes imposed on a common basis). Legalization only applies to violations that occurred prior to 1 January 2015. According to media reports, by the beginning of December 2015, this possibility was used only a few hundred people.


The Federation Council also will consider a law that establishes the order of use of weapons, special means and physical force by the employees of the FSB.

The act contains a detailed list of cases when servicemen of the FSB will be able to use weapons, special means and the use of physical force. They will not be held responsible for damage caused to citizens and organisations if the use of military equipment, weapons, special means and physical force was carried out “on the grounds and in the manner established by law.” The compensation of such harm will occur in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation at the expense of the budget.

As explained by the Chairman of Committee of Federation Council on defense and security Viktor Ozerov, the law does not give the FSB any advantages in relation to other police officers. “We looked at how other security forces to use weapons and special means in the event of an attack on their employee’s or a protected object. There is nothing (in the act) of such new there that would give the FSB some advantages relative to other law enforcement authorities”, – said the Senator, one of the authors of the document.

In the same document, according to Ozerov, there is provided a number of additional measures on counteraction to terrorism. “In this case the main thesis is that the FSB have to match the use of weapons against terrorists or any persons, with the consequences which may occur if these measures are not taken,” – said the MP.

The act also provides for the right of members of the security services to take fingerprints at the border of the Russian Federation the persons who, according to the FSB, can be recruited into terrorist activities.

The extension of maternity capital

In the social block of the meeting, senators will discuss the issues of the liberation of pensioners over the age of 80 years, from the obligation to pay contributions for the overhaul and optimization of measures of social support of citizens based on the principles of targeting and means testing.

In addition, senators will consider a law extending for two years – 2017 and 2018 – the programs for the provision of maternity capital at the birth or adoption of a second child and subsequent children.

This initiative was made by 3 December, the President Vladimir Putin in the message to the Federal Assembly. The head of state assured that the budget will be able to “guarantee to pay” all expenses for these purposes, “no matter what the problem.”

Maternity capital was introduced in Russia in 2007 as a measure to encourage fertility. Eligible for a certificate arises at the birth or adoption of a second child or subsequent children. Initially the funds of the parent capital can be used to improve housing conditions, education of the child and increase the mother’s pension. In November 2015 the Russian Parliament adopted the law allowing to direct means of the parent capital for treatment and rehabilitation of children with disabilities.

Senators will discuss law, which prohibits retail and wholesale trade of sucking tobacco (snus). For violation of the ban imposes fines on citizens in the amount from 2 thousand to 4 thousand rubles, for officials – from 7 thousand to 12 thousand rubles, for legal entities – from 40 thousand to 60 thousand rubles. Currently these fines are for violations of the prohibition wholesale or retail sale of nasvay (chewing tobacco).

Call relatives and “Golden parachutes”

Also at the meeting it is planned to consider the law on the right of a detainee to a phone call close not later than three hours from the moment of delivery it to the body of inquiry.

Under current law, the investigator no later than 12 hours from the moment of detention of a suspect shall notify someone of close relatives, and in their absence – other relatives or provide the option of such notification to the suspect himself.

The law provides the opportunity to the suspect to inform on Russian relatives or close persons about the detention by phone. This is noted in the detention record. The interrogating officer, the investigator shall be obliged to provide it no later than three hours from the moment of actual delivery to him of the suspect.

The senators will also discuss the limitation of “Golden parachutes” for regional officials and deputies.

The document prohibits “Golden parachutes” regional officials (including senior officials of constituent entities of the Russian Federation and persons occupying state posts of subjects of the Russian Federation) and the deputies whose powers were terminated due to failure to observe the prohibitions, restrictions and obligations provided by the legislation of the Russian Federation.

According to the head of the Federation Council Committee on Federative structure, regional policy, local government and Northern Affairs Dmitry Azarov, the practice of paying “Golden parachutes” is “absolutely immoral”, especially in a situation where “the first persons of the state, heads of regions, members of Parliament make the decision on voluntary reduction of his own wages.” The Senator also noted that the municipal Council appointed for the payment of “regional laws or municipal regulations”, while “Federal law does not allow that”.