The Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast

Address by Oksana Kozlovskaya at the 19th session
of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast(April 23, 2013)

Oksana Kozlovskaya At the beginning of her speech the Duma Speaker announced that on April 27 Russia will for the first time celebrate the Day of Russian Parliamentarism.

On April 27, 1906 the first State Duma of the Russian Empire had its first session. In his opening speech on that day the Emperor Nicholas II said, “Well-being of the State requires not only freedom but also order based on law”. Oksana Kozlovskaya believes, those words have not lost their importance with time and still hold true for the modern parliamentarism.

She emphasized that the division of political power among a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary is a basis for the stability of the State.

Even though the branches of power are independent they are open for dialogue and cooperation. Today Russia has still not yet fully established its legal system. Tomsk Oblast only annually adopts around 30 basic laws and Russia on the whole annually adopts more than 100 basic laws!

Parliament has always been a tool to coordinate interests of various social groups. The key performance criterion of the Duma is its credibility with the voters.

As for credibility… UN and Inter-Parliamentary Union experts say that the lowest credibility parliaments are in… the US and in Lithuania.
Less than 10%. The situation is almost the same in Arab countries, South-East Asia and Pacific Region. Parliaments have more than 50% voters’ credibility only in African countries to the south of the Sahara. In Russia, the parliaments have almost 40% of voters’ credibility.

There are 46,552 law-makers in the world (245 per country on average). China has the biggest parliament with 3,000 members.
Every fifth member of the global parliamentary community is a woman.
The average age of a “public servant” is 53 years. But those are all curious facts. The key conclusion made by the experts is that the parliament has always been an important link between the citizens and the government in any country.

Lately, discussions have revived again on the role and status of the legislative branch of power. However, the key priorities of parliaments have stayed the same.

1. Strengthen the institutions of representative democracy. That means superiority of the Law over political interests and lobbies. A good example of that is the annual work over the law on the Oblast budget, the key financial document of the region.

2. Reach out for the civil society. Main function of any parliament is to link laws and people, law and business. The Duma of the 5th convocation has the Council of Public Initiatives which unites representatives of over 60 parties and non-governmental associations.

3. Improve law-making activity and closely monitor law enforcement actions.

About the agenda

1. Major changes in the Oblast budget. Almost 1 billion rubles will be spent on supporting rural areas, including 450 million rubles allocated from the Oblast budget. Another billion rubles will be spent on relocating people from condemned housing, including 600 million rubles from the Oblast budget. The plan is to relocate 2,300 people (as estimated by the Construction Department). This initiative requires increasing the budget deficit by almost 1 billion rubles.

2. Performance report of the Oblast Legal Public Office which people already call a Free Legal Office. The Office has a headcount of 15 people and the size of funding of only 10 million rubles annually. Since 2006, it has provided legal services to more than 26,000 people. The experts of the office have helped win more than 80% court cases.

3. A very important subject will be discussed during the Governor’s Hour – actions to increase the region’s pre-school education capacity.

4. Resolutions on performance reports delivered by the Ombudsman of Tomsk Oblast and Ombudsman for Children in Tomsk Oblast.

5. Consider a package of social laws including a bill on expanding the rights of maternity capital beneficiaries. Also, the Duma will award 12 families with a Parental Valor decoration for successful upbringing of their children. All those families have brought up more than 5 children, own and adopted, each.

The agenda contains 38 items in total.

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