One of the leaders of the Russian Christian Democratic Union, Vitaly Savitsky, called on the Duma to move, before the upcoming elections, to restrict the wide-ranging immunity currently being enjoyed by Russian parliamentarians. According to Savitsky, sitting in the Duma has become a lucrative goal for many criminal entities. If the Russian legal code is not revised, he warned, the new parliament might belong, not to communists, agrarians, Zhirinovsky supporters, Lebed, or Gaidar, but to the mafia. (6)
In contrast to the practice in most Western democracies, Russian parliamentarians enjoy almost total immunity. They are free from investigation and legal prosecution, not only in the course of their duties or in the parliament building, but everywhere and at any time. The present Duma has several times already rejected amendments seeking to define parliamentary immunity more narrowly.
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