Sanctions were removed
The authors of the bill on Russia's response to US sanctions decided to exclude from it a ban on the import of drugs into the country from the United States and countries that supported the restrictions imposed by them, as well as to remove the item on the prohibition of the work of foreign specialists in Russia. RBC was told about this by Associate Professor of the Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ekaterina Shulman, who attended the meeting of the Council on Legislation under the State Duma Speaker on May 11.
The deputies decided to amend the bill in the course of its revision to the second reading.
The text of the document will also exclude the mention of certain industries, goods and services, while expanding the powers of the president and the government to apply sanctions against foreign individuals and legal entities. The Council for Lawmaking decided that the measures of impact set by the draft law should not extend to vital goods, analogues of which are not produced in Russia and (or) other foreign states.
The softening of the State Duma's position on the issue of counter-sentences, in particular in the field of medicine, is connected with the unpopularity of the initially proposed measures, said Mikhail Yemelyanov, deputy head of the Just Russia faction. "In the society, this caused concern, and they decided to refuse from this," he explained.
The tough statements of the Duma leadership and the first draft of the bill had the goal of denoting their response to the harsh actions of the West, political scientist Yevgeny Minchenko explains. In his opinion, when the law was introduced, no one had time to calculate the real consequences. "Subsequently, the Duma leadership realized that it is necessary to soften the position," the expert said. The authorities realized that political analyst Abbas Gallyamov agreed with him. Economic logic prevailed over the political, he assured.
Inhibits the first version
The draft law on retaliatory measures on US sanctions provided for the prohibition or imposition of restrictions on the purchase by Russia of medicines from the United States and the states that supported the American sanctions. In addition, Russia should have imposed restrictions on the importation of tobacco, alcoholic and agricultural products from these countries. Deputies proposed to prohibit or limit the "admission of technological equipment and software to Russia" from the US, as well as to suspend cooperation with the United States in the nuclear, aircraft and missile-motor industries.
Who was against
Some provisions of the first version of the draft law on retaliatory sanctions caused sharp criticism, including from the medical community and representatives of state companies and large businesses. "You can not bomb Voronezh in response to sanctions. It is necessary to introduce retaliatory measures in a very balanced way, so as not to damage the interests of Russian industry, "said Viktor Kladov, director for international cooperation and regional policy of Rostecha.
Co-owner of the world's largest titanium producer, VSMPO-Avisma Corporation, Mikhail Shelkov, and did tell RBC that the law on counter-sentences was prepared by "pests". Restriction of trade in titanium could affect the company's contracts, including with Boeing and Airbus.
The proposal to add foreign medicines to the sanctions list was criticized by the relevant committees of the Federation Council. The Committee on Social Policy of the Upper House in the recall of the bill expressed fears that restrictions on the import of foreign medicines to Russia may lead to a shortage of necessary drugs or force a significant increase in the prices of medicines that are not on the vital list.
Instead of the sectoral prohibitions, the bill has a norm on assistance to victims of Western sanctions. Deputies plan to recommend to the government when preparing the draft federal law on the budget for 2019 and the planning period 2020-2021 to consider the issue of providing support from the budget to economic sectors, individual domestic enterprises and single-industry towns in connection with the imposition of sanctions of foreign states.
In addition, the new version of the document says that "to minimize the threat to Russia's interests and security" and its citizens, due to sanctions, it will be sufficient to stop or suspend international cooperation between Russia and Russian companies with "unfriendly foreign states and organizations within their jurisdiction" . The bill also presupposes "the prohibition or restriction of the importation of products or raw materials from unfriendly foreign states to Russia."
Another retaliatory measure should be a "ban or restriction on export" from the country of production "by citizens or organizations from unfriendly countries". In addition, "unfriendly countries" and companies under their jurisdiction Russian deputies proposed to prohibit or restrict the provision of services to ensure state and municipal needs. Citizens and organizations from countries that support American sanctions may be prohibited from participating in the privatization of Russian state or municipal property.
The rest of the response the authors of the bill proposed to introduce "in accordance with the president's decision". Sanctions can be introduced and revoked by the president on the basis of proposals of the Security Council, spelled out in a new version of the document.
The president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sergey Katyrin, who took part in the meeting of the Council for Legislative Affairs, expressed confidence that the government should introduce counter-forces only after consulting with the business. "It is necessary to legislatively oblige the government to conduct a calculation of their economic consequences and to prevent damage to the Russian economy before the introduction of counter sanctions," the press service of the CCI reports.
Change your mind for the day
On the eve, on May 10, the State Duma Committee on Health Protection supported the bill, taking into account the ban on the import of drugs and was even ready to join the work on the formation of the list of banned drugs. No one voted against this decision, two deputies abstained - Alexei Kurinniy (Communist Party of the Russian Federation) and Fedot Tumusov ("Fair Russia"). "I proposed to approve the bill, but to exclude the words" medicines "or" medical products "from it, so I did not vote entirely against the bill, but I could not support it," Tumusov explained to TBC.
Immediately after the meeting of the Council for Legislative Affairs on May 11, a meeting of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Industry and Entrepreneurship was held, which is responsible for the bill under discussion. As the head of the committee Sergey Zhigarev said, the decision to avoid specifying the branches of industrial enterprises and directions "in no way infringes, but, on the contrary, broadens the possibilities for the support of our citizens." According to Zhigarev, this will expand the "scope of measures under which the government and the president, taking into account the dynamism of the changing political, international and economic situation, themselves determine the directions that correspond to counter-sentences."
Zhigarev noted that on May 10 the committee received more than 80 proposals to the bill from the government, the Security Council, the presidential administration, as well as more than 130 applications from various industrial enterprises.
First reading unchanged
The first reading of the bill is scheduled for May 15. The Legislative Council under the State Duma chairman is an advisory body consisting of the chairman of the chamber, vice-speakers, committee heads and invited experts. The regulatory base for documents approved by the council on May 11, no, but this is the consolidated position of the Duma leadership, noted Shulman. However, on May 15, according to her, in the first reading the document will be adopted in the previous version, so as not to violate the rules of the State Duma, she said.
To counter sanctions, another measure was announced. On Monday, May 14, the draft law is planned to be submitted to the State Duma, developed by the speakers of both houses of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin and Valentina Matvienko, with the participation of the leaders of all four factions of the State Duma. It establishes criminal responsibility for rendering assistance to the authorities of other states in imposing sanctions against Russian citizens and companies. According to TASS, the document proposes to supplement the Criminal Code with a new article, according to which the Russian will be punished by any "deliberate actions" that promote the introduction of sanctions against "Russian private and public entities, as well as those controlled by them." The crime, in particular, will be considered "providing recommendations and transferring information" that led or even simply "could lead" to the imposition of sanctions.