The Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast

Celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast

The Legislative Duma of Tomsk Oblast had a ceremonial meeting and a gala concert to celebrate its 20th birthday. The best ensembles and entertainers of the region took part in the concert. There was not a single vacant seat in the cozy hall of the Theater for Young Audiences. Among the guests who came to give their congratulations to the deputies of all five convocations were Governor of Tomsk Oblast Sergey Zhvachkin, senators Viktor Kress and Igor Chernyshev, deputy of the Russian State Duma Elena Ushakova, Chief Federal Inspector for Tomsk Oblast Vladimir Sirchuk, federal and local government officials, business executives and leaders of non-profit organizations – all those who have long-standing and close relationship with the Oblast parliament. After the anthem of Russia, Duma Speaker Oksana Kozlovskaya delivered an opening speech.

"Looking back at the past two decades, we must remember at least fragments of the history of the Tomsk Oblast parliament – who and how laid its foundation. Even though it first emerged in the Tomsk region at the end of the 19th century, it is officially dated back to 1906 – the year of the establishment of the Russian State Duma and first nation-wide elections of deputies. More than a century ago Russia made a historic step towards the reformation of its social and political system, broader range of political and civil rights and liberties, pluralism and right of publicity."

Over the 20 years of work of the Oblast parliament the deputies of the first convocation have developed special relationship with all attending guests. As Oksana Kozlovskaya noted, the first convocation worked in the same time period when the legal frameworks of the country and its regions were only starting to get shape. Often, regional laws went ahead of the federal ones. Many pathbreaking laws such as laws on the budgeting process, local government, social support, small business, deputy status, have successfully worked for many years now.

Governor Sergey Zhvachkin said he remembers well the first democratic elections to the Oblast Duma back in 1994 and the first session even though he himself joined the deputy corps in 1999 – five years from then.

"Two decades have passed but it seems as though it just happened yesterday. Every citizen in the region paid genuine and unfeigned attention to the first days of the Duma’s work. The deputies of the first convocation practically had to start from scratch – they developed the Charter of Tomsk Oblast and its basic laws, including laws on the development and execution of the budget. They did not have any expertise, nor did they have any economic rationale. But they had a lot of enthusiasm. The first convocation – and not only the first but several convocations later – had to patch holes in the budget and seek for money to pay salaries to teachers and doctors. They had to pass emergency laws on support for small and medium business as inflation and unemployment grew at comparable rates."

The Governor admitted that he takes personally this 20th anniversary of the Oblast Duma. In 1999, for the first time in the capacity of deputy he entered the assembly hall of the then State Duma of Tomsk Oblast. The seven and a half years of his work in the parliament were a highlight of his life.

Deputy Duma Speaker Alexander Kupriyanets noted that the Legislative Duma has been receiving many congratulatory telegrams. Congratulations have come from the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, Russian State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin, federal government officials and parliaments of other regions of Russia.

Tomsk Oblast Governor Sergey Zhvachkin held an award ceremony. Deputy Gennady Sergeyenko was given the Badge of Merit for Tomsk Oblast for significant contribution to the social and economic development of Tomsk Oblast and lasting and fruitful lawmaking activity. Deputies Oleg Gromov and Vladimir Kravchenko, and senators Igor Chernyshev and Oleg Shuteyev were awarded Certificates of Honor of Tomsk Oblast.

Speaker Oksana Kozlovskaya and deputies Boris Maltsev and Aleksander Shpeter were awarded Orders of Tomsk Glory. Achievement Medals were given to Deputy Duma Speaker Alexander Kupriyanets and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Deputy Ethics Lev Pichurin.

Speaker of the Legislative Duma of the 1st – 4th convocations Boris Maltsev congratulated his colleagues on the occasion and recollected how much the deputies argued and disputed, however, always for the benefit of the voters.

"I am thankful to all citizens of Tomsk Oblast, especially those who came to vote. Only smart people can select out of a million of people only 42 energetic and capable representatives who are ready and willing to act in the interests of their supporters."

Senator of the Federation Council Viktor Kress congratulated the deputies and gave Federation Council Certificates of Honor to Seversk Duma Chairman and City Mayor Grigory Shamin and Oblast Duma deputy Aleksander Frenovsky. Tomsk Oblast Duma deputy and leader of the Just Russia party faction Galina Nemtseva received a recognition letter of the Federation Council.

Viktor Kress reminded the audience that 18 months ago he presided over the Oblast Council of People’s Deputies.

"The Council had 190 members. At times, a day was not enough to approve the agenda for a session. Sessions would last two weeks and sometimes longer. In 1994, after the elections to the first Duma, looking back at what we went through in the post-Soviet times, we knew that two independent branches of power should exist and work based on mutual respect. It’s very important that together we have created a well-developed legal framework for the economic and social development of Tomsk Oblast."

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