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Parliamentarians vote for lifetime immunity for former presidents

Whoever has held the presidency “cannot be subject to criminal or administrative proceedings, nor detained, searched or interrogated,” says a new bill approved at first reading by Russian deputies. The final validation of this text, approved on Tuesday, November 17, is not in doubt and will lead to the establishment ofjudicial immunity for all former presidents of the country and their families.

The text was proposed by an influential senator and deputy, both members of the ruling “United Russia” party. It will refer to the patrimonial assets of the former Head of State, his means of transport and communication, as well as his documents and luggage. The bill is an exception for the former president of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, specified one of its authors, Pavel Kracheninnikov.

Vladimir Putin on the move?

However, this immunity includes clauses : it can be lifted if the former president “is accused of treason or another serious crime”, and if these accusations are supported by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. These accusations must also be supported by two thirds of the deputies of the State Duma (lower house of Parliament) and by the same number of senators of the Federation Council (upper house).

Such announcement sparked rumors in Russia that President Vladimir Putin, 68, was leaving. The accusations immediately denied by the Kremlin which claimed that the head of state was in good health.

Dmitry Medvedev under investigation

As a reminder, there is only one former president of Russia, namely Dmitry Medvedev, who ruled the country from 2008 to 2012. During this period, Vladimir Putin served as prime minister due to the limited quota of consecutive terms.

After Putin assumed power in May 2012, Medvedev became prime minister and leader of the ruling United Russia party, before resigning in January 2020. Vice President of the Russian Security Council, himself headed by Vladimir Putin.

Dmitry Medvedev is the subject of various anti-corruption investigations of the opponent Alexeï Navalny in recent years: he is accused in particular of having received bribes from oligarchs.

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