Russian Deputies Ready to Allow Criminals to Run For Office

October 28, 2013

Current election law in Russia bans anyone convicted of a serious crime from ever holding public office. This is one reason that the court case against opposition candidate Alexei Navalny is significant — though his sentence has been suspended, he is still a convicted felon, and so would be unable to run for office under the current law.

The law, however, has also netted a significant number of other, now former, public officials. As such, many in the state Duma, led by President Putin’s party, United Russia, are seeking to overturn the law. – Ed.

United Russia party members, headed by Vladimir Pligin, chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on Constitutional Law and State-Building, introduced a draft law in the Duma which would abolish the life-long ban on running in elections for those convicted of severe crimes. Furthermore, on 10 October, the Constitutional Court decided that the ban on election campaigns contradicts the Fundamental Law – apparently, deputies finally got around to looking at this as well. Along with the decision, the Constitutional Court ruled that changes must be made immediately in the law.

The deputies decided that persons convicted of severe crimes, if they were still severe in the new criminal law, should be stripped of the ability to run for elections for 10 years from the date that the sentence is served or from the removal of the sentence. Persons convicted of especially serious crimes shall not run for 15 years.

To rephrase the words of the parliamentarians who passed the reverse law: Long live crime in power!