Deputy Pavel Krasheninnikov and Senator Andrei Klishas withdrew from the Russian State Duma the bill they had introduced, popularly known as the “Bill on Express Courts” and the “Bill on the Removal of Children in 24 Hours”. They had to do it after many attempts to “push” it through the Parliament with the help of bureaucratic tricks: an outraged society reminded the people’s representatives that by voting to undermine families, they endanger their political careers.
Let me remind you that the Krasheninnikov-Klishas bill was submitted to the State Duma on July 10th, i.e. not only during the summer season, but also on Friday, the eve of the weekend. Moreover, it was composed in such a way that it was not the Committee on family, women and children that was responsible for its further passage, but the Committee on state building and legislation, the chairman of which is … Mr. Krasheninnikov himself. On the same day, a post was published at the public page of the State Duma on the social network Vkontakte, in which the bill was deceptively presented as a tool “against abuses by the guardianship authorities” [Russian CPS – IFN].
This dishonest advertising slogan was designed in such a way that the bill would pass through all the necessary “high offices” as quickly as possible, and ordinary people either did not notice it or did not understand its essence. But something went wrong. Yes, support from the “high offices” for the bill was provided in abundance – it was supported by the United Russia party, the Government, the State Duma Committee on Family Issues, and the negative responses from the regional legislative assemblies … were simply “lost” somewhere in the mysterous depths of the State Duma apparatus.
But, in spite of these bureaucratic tricks, the authors didn’t manage to “push through” their bill without attracting public attention, and to deceive people, trying to present it as protection from abuses of CPS. First, people remembered that Pavel Krasheninnikov and Andrei Klishas had already acted to the detriment of families before: they supported “the law on spanking” and “the bill on domestic violence”, that was also designed for making it possible to remove children from any family under any pretext. And secondly and most importantly, in recent years Russian families have learned to monitor the activities of their elected representatives, to read and to analyze draft laws. Russian parents are well aware that, apart from them, and in extreme cases, their close relatives and friends, no one will take care of their children. Therefore, a poll run at the public page of the State Duma did not give the results that the manipulators had hoped for.
Many citizens began to leave angry comments at the official public pages of the United Russia party on social networks. By the end of September, a petition against the bill was signed by more than 100,000 citizens (at the time of the withdrawal of the bill there were nearly 125,000 signatures under the petition), an open letter demanding the rejection of the bill was signed by hundreds of non-profit organizations, more than 30,000 citizens personally wrote letters to the Duma and the Presidential Administration, Patriarch of Moscow and of All Russia Kirill has spoken out against the law, as well as other representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church and other traditional religions of Russia.
Such an unprecedented reaction from society was probably a surprise for Mr. Klishas and Mr. Krasheninnikov. But, in fact, it was easily predictable. Over the past year, due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the anti-epidemiological measures taken, the citizens of Russia have lost their usual freedom, many have lost their jobs, almost everyone’s income has dropped, the treatment of usual diseases and the normal education of children in schools are practically interrupted in many regions – and then the legislators decided to come for the most dear that every parent has: for his/her children. And they did it in a particularly cynical form, allegedly as an implementation of amendments to the Constitution aimed at protecting the family. On June 1, President Putin has said:
“It is no coincidence that when discussing amendments to the Russian Constitution, the protection and support of the family were among the most frequent proposals of the citizens of our country …”
And ten days after the vote, Mr. Klishas and Mr. Krasheninnikov introduced a bill aimed at improving the removal of children for parents – that is, built around the destruction of the family.
By the beginning of November, it became obvious that society was clearly against the bill. On November 3, a well-known public figure, human rights activist Alexandra Mashkova-Blagikh wrote on her blog:
“Look, there is NO ONE who likes the bill. Even in the case of FVB [the feminist bill on the prevention of the so-called “domestic violence” causing outrage in Russian society last year – IFN] there were discussions, in the case of 2K [Krasheninnikov-Klishas bill – IFN] – absolute unanimity! The bill is monstrous, dangerous, destructive!
But two heavyweights (and Klishas and Krasheninnikov are heavyweights) pull it through with their authority.
— The President, who said that such bills require wide discussion with the families;
— The Patriarch, who spoke out against the bill;
— Mr. Volodin [Russian State Duma speaker – IFN], who called for discussion;
— The conclusions of the regional legislatures;
— 206 NGOs;
— 115,000+ citizens and their voices”.
And so, on November 13, again on Friday, on the eve of the weekend, Mr. Krasheninnikov and Mr. Klishas went all-in. It was unexpectedly announced that the bill would be put to a vote in the State Duma not on November 25, as was expected earlier (such a rush in itself caused considerable indignation of the people), but on Tuesday, 17th. In fact, the public had only the weekend, and on Monday the State Duma Council was supposed to put the bill to a vote …
And then the parents began to write en masse to the deputies on social networks and to phone the Duma. What other ways to reach out to their elected representatives are available for the people on weekends? And after that, on Saturday afternoon, Igor Lebedev, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, from LDPR, expressed his negative position on the bill loudly and publicly, saying:
“On Monday, at the Council of the Duma, as a member of the Council, I will insist at least on the postponement of this bill. I searched for the results of the serious preparation of this bill but didn’t find them. Where are the fruits of the explanatory work, which, however, hasn’t been conducted? Where are the results of the wide discussion in the expert community? Where is the public defense of the theses, where is the readiness for clearer and more understandable formulations, excluding any abuse and double interpretation? I did not see anything like this. Considering the widest audience having interest in the bill, I see this as an open disrespect for the country. “
“In case a crime is committed, there is a Criminal Code: for some reason, the authors of laws on spanking, on domestic violence, and now on the removal of children do not believe in it.
They are trying to pass the bill quietly, without any public discussion, despite the fact that it concerns the interests of millions of families – of everyone who has children. And the presence in its text of vague formulations about the threat to life and health, which can be interpreted as you like, makes it not only harmful, but socially dangerous.
Neither this nor any other similar initiative should pass in this form. I and many of my colleagues will strongly oppose it, we will do everything so that the bill would not be adopted. “
Then, on Sunday evening, a message appeared at the official page of the Communist Party of Russia, informing that the Communists were also against the bill. As for the Just Russia, it was the first of all parliamentary parties to side with Russian families: as early as November 5, thus party declared that they were against the Klishas-Krasheninnikov bill.
So, last week the State Duma was supposed to pass the bill in the first reading. However, the bill was withdrawn by its authors instead. This was the result of unprecedented public outrage.
True, the authors of the bill tried to save their political face, which had suffered greatly from the indignation of the parents. They managed to negotiate the simultaneous withdrawal of the “Seven Senators’ Bill”, which was aimed at real protection of the family and the adoption of which was long awaited by the Russian parents.
I must say that the “Seven Senators’ Bill” aroused not indignation in the family community, but joy and enthusiasm. In their comments on social networks, people massively demanded that the deputies adopt it instead of the Krasheninnikov-Klishas bill. And this is not surprising, because it was developed for three years and discussed with pro-family organizations and experts.
Now the authors of the crashed Krasheninnikov-Klishas bill are trying to save their reputation by pretending that both bills have been withdrawn because they both caused public outrage. “As it turned out, both normative acts do not meet the needs of society,” told Pavel Krasheninnikov to Komsomolskaya Pravda.
But this attempt to keep a good face in a very bad game is completely untrue. His own brainchild was indeed perceived by Russian society very badly and prompted parents to fight for their rights. The disjointed chorus of voices from critics of the “Seven Senators’ Bill” included only radical feminists, “LGBT”-activists and friends of George Soros. But such criticism, perhaps, should be considered a “quality mark”. Now, if supporters of the destruction of families were satisfied with this bill, it would be a reason to be wary.
So, unlike the Krasheninnikov-Klishas bill, the “Seven Senators’ Bill” is exactly in line with the demands of Russian society – the only people dissatisfied with it are those who despises our society and tries to radically remake it in their dubious interests.
True, the pro-family bill also was not free from some legal and technical flaws, its text was not completely “polished” – and a representative of the Chelyabinsk region in the Federation Council of Russia, Senator Margarita Pavlova, one of the “Seven Senators”, wrote about the reasons for this:
“The work on this bill was going on for a very long time, we wanted to work out everything deeply and thoroughly – after all, this is such an important topic! But, when in July a bill on express courts for taking children away from their parents was introduced to the State Duma (and this is against the background of the updated Constitution!), we had to hurry up so that instead of protection, families would not be in trouble. <…>
Now we can take our time, having compared our values in dialogue, having heard the voice of society, we can finalize our set of bills, calmly eliminate the shortcomings, and reach public consensus.
The direction of this consensus is already obvious – it should be a real protection of the family from destruction, a refusal to oppose the rights of children to the rights of families and parents, the practical implementation of the constitutional (!) presumption that parents are acting in good faith. As required by the updated Constitution, the new norms should proceed from our traditional family values, and not from radical “juvenile” ideas imposed on us by family destroyers. <…>
I think that it should only be about the final revision, the creation of an even more integral legal structure that Russian parents are waiting for. The dialogue should go around these principles – and we will by no means agree to make conceptual concessions here “.
It is worth listening to the voice of Margarita Pavlova – after all, she boldly criticized the anti-family Krasheninnikov-Klishas bill and spoke of the need to really protect the family even before it became, thanks to the indignant voices of parents, something fashionable among the legislators.
As for Pavel Krasheninnikov, he said in an interview with TASS: “Next, we need to analyze and involve society in the preparation [of decisions], and not just lawyers, deputies and senators.” Well, Mr. Krasheninnikov, it is a good thing to involve society in the discussion of bills that will affect every Russian family, even if it is unusual for you. I hope that now you have no doubts about what exactly the citizens expect of you, and what, on the contrary, can put an end to even your long and so successful political career.
Parents, of course, will carefully look at who will be included in the working group for the preparation of the family protection bill and, most importantly, at what this bill will turn out to be. It cannot be ruled out that the enemies of the family will make another attempt to cheat on their dangerous norms.
And yet the parents have every reason to celebrate the victory. As Alexandra Mashkova-Blagikh has said, “this day can be called the birthday of the Pro-Family Civil Society! And its conception took place in the fight against the feminist bill on domestic violence”.
Therefore, Pyotr Tolstoy and Margarita Pavlova are absolutely right: initiatives like the rejected bill of Krasheninnikov and Klishas should not pass, and conceptual concessions on these issues are impossible.