‘Respond to accusations or resign’: New ethic rules for United Russia party members

‘Respond to accusations or resign’: New ethic rules for United Russia party members
The United Russia party has adopted a new set of ethic rules for its members. Now, they are obliged to publicly respond to accusations of wrongdoings and immediately resign from the party if the allegations stand true.

The new ethic rules were unveiled amid a convention of the party on Friday. While “most of the party’s members already stick to rules of ethics” State Duma’s deputy Andrey Krasov said, the set of rules targets certain individuals who “might tarnish the image of the whole United Russia party with their actions and statement.”

From now on, the party’s members are obliged to treat citizens with respect, support them and try to assist them in solving their problems. They should also refrain from “actions and statements that may lead to the infringement of human rights and freedoms, stand responsible for their remarks,” as well as try and be “modest” in public.

Members of the United Russian, accused of wrongdoings should publicly – and legally – respond to the allegations to clear their names, and resign immediately if the allegations actually hold water.

The changes follow a recent string of scandals, triggered by quite controversial statements made by the party’s members. In October, Natalya Sokolova, the labor minister of Russia’s Saratov Region, was caught on video telling a local legislator that a person can survive on 3,500 rubles (about $52) a month. Living off such a modest sum, according to Sokolova, was enough to fulfill “basic physiological needs” and offered a great opportunity to diet and lose weight.

The remarks got Sokolova fired, while the deputy tried the “minister’s diet” for a month, losing some 7 kilograms in progress and strongly advocating an increase in the living wage in Russia afterwards.

In November, the Department of Youth Politics in Sverdlovsk Region, Olga Glatskikh, got herself in hot water after a video of her inflammatory remarks surfaced online. Glatskikh was filmed talking to a group of young NGO activists and urging them to not rely that much – if at all – on the state.

“Young people believe the state owes them everything. No, the state owes you nothing, actually,” Glatskikh, a former gymnast and 2004 Olympic champion, was filmed saying. “It’s the parents who owe things to you because they brought you in the world. The state didn’t ask them to have you.”

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The statement, looking especially cynical given Glatskikh’s job, sparked outrage and put her under the fire of other officials, who rushed to reassure citizens that it was not an official stance of the government. Glatskikh was put under investigation and suspended from her job.

While the results of the probe are still unknown, the official appears to be unwilling to leave her post. On Thursday, Glatskikh said that it was “conscience” which prevented her from leaving the job, since several “federal projects” have been stalled since her suspension.

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