No More Vehicles for Personal Use by Public Officials

July 22, 2013
Minister for "Open Government" Mikhail Abyzov Photo: Peter Kassin / Kommersant

Mikhail Abyzov, the Minister for Open Government, proposed to stop the practice of procurement of cars for government officials. Earlier, representatives of the “All-Russia People’s Front” (ONF) introduced a bill limiting the value of official vehicles to 3 million roubles.

The Minister said that “it is necessary to abandon the practice of acquisition of vehicles for personal use by officials and make all the costs of vehicle maintenance part of a fixed and transparent allowance”. He argued that taxpayers demand transparency and accountability of all the expenses maintained by public officials.

Vyacheslav Lyssakov, the head of the ONF Audit Committee and the first deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State, recalled that a bill limiting the cost of official vehicles to 3 million roubles has already been introduced to the State Duma by the ONF. Mr. Abyzov said the ONF initiative will be considered along with the “public initiative” by Alexei Navalny, that has already been endorsed by one hundred thousand votes. Mr. Navalny’s proposal calls for limiting the cost of vehicles for officials at 1.5 million roubles.

Konstantin Kalmykov, the coordinator of the “Rospil” project, told “Ъ” that the participants in the project are working on initiatives that call for limitations on procurement of expensive vehicles for government officials, starting September 2011. Mr. Kalmykov hopes that Mikhail Abyzov’s statement resonates with the latest initiative by Alexei Navalny, but he is concerned that even if the bill is passed it might not be properly implemented.

The initiative by Alexei Navalny to prohibit procurement of vehicles worth more than 1.5 million roubles for public officials and employees of state corporations and state-controlled companies was endorsed by 100,250 signatures. The “Russian public initiative” website registered this initiative on April 5. People continue to vote.