President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. Mr Mironov, I meet regularly with party faction leaders, including yourself. I want to begin a new series of meetings now. Let’s discuss the current situation and the work between the parliament and Government. What do you see as the greatest priorities right now?
Head of the A Just Russia faction in the State Duma Sergei Mironov: Mr President, yes, we do have these regular meetings and I thank you for this.
Work is going well. The 7th convocation of the State Duma is, I think, working effectively and we have streamlined cooperation between the parliamentary factions and have good relations with the State Duma’s heads. We are enhancing the regulations and obliging ourselves to work not only more intensively, but also more productively and with greater quality. This is very important.
We have excellent working relations with the Government. We demand more of each other now, and I think that this will boost the quality of draft laws.
I want to take this opportunity to brief you on a number of ideas for possible legislative initiatives or at least for closer examination.
First, unfortunately, spring brings with it both fires and floods all at once.
Regarding floods, an interesting analysis shows that we have three agencies responsible for hydro-technical constructions. Of course, when the spring floods come, they try to resolve problems, put temporary dams in place and so on, but in reality, the problems can be solved by doing the needed work ahead of time.
We have Rostetekhnadzor, Rosprirodnadzor, and Rostransnadzor [state technical, environmental and transport oversight agencies] working in this area. In short, it is a situation of too many cooks spoil the broth. Only 1 percent of these hydro-technical constructions are in state ownership, and the rest belong to various companies.
Rostekhnadzor is responsible for submitting the paperwork on these constructions’ state and readiness. The figures for the first quarter of 2017 show that 75 percent of these constructions were not declared fit and ready in terms of quality preparation for possible spring floods. There is a clear need to bring order to this situation. I think that cooperation with the Emergencies Ministry and the organisations I named is needed.
The second idea is perhaps more global in nature. We have had our Constitution since 1993 now, and as you know very well, Article 100 states that the Constitutional Court must make public reports (it does not state whether this should be an annual report) to the Federal Assembly on compliance with the Constitution and its provisions in the Russian Federation.
These reports have not been made. In this respect, we are preparing a draft law so that the Constitutional Court would address the two houses (at a joint meeting of the two houses of parliament) at least once every five years, at the start of the new State Duma’s work, and report on the situation. We know, for example, that there are Constitutional Court decisions that are not being enforced.
The third issue is that all Duma deputies are receiving letters on the following problem, a problem that affects up to 1.5 million dacha land plots around our towns.
What is the problem? People were given land plots completely legally and officially at one time. There were pipelines nearby, usually gas or oil pipelines, but people lived in peace.
I stress the fact that they received legitimate land plots and suddenly they are told that regulations have changed and they now have to demolish their dachas, and without any compensation.
There is no doubt that we do need a national policy here. We need to look at where the monopolist could pay to move the gas pipelines, and at cases where the pipeline category could be reviewed, added reinforcements made and so on. But whatever the case, we cannot simply shift this to the shoulders of law abiding citizens, who had nothing to do with this whole situation at the time.
Finally, as the person heading the Sports Hiking Federation, I want to say that you are right to raise the issue of patriotic education and additional education opportunities for our people. Our federation is working hard on developing hiking routes and training instructors who will train children. Children’s hiking is a separate issue.
I have drafted a letter and will give it to you later. I would like to ask for your approval for closer cooperation with the Russian Geographical Society. I think that we could resolve many issues together and, as I said, with your permission, I will give you this letter.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, of course. I think that all of these issues that you raise are topical and interesting, and we certainly need to look at the situation with the dachas. People should not be made to suffer because regulations have changed.
On the question of hiking, all the more so when children are involved, we need to take a cautious approach here and work everything through carefully. Let’s discuss this in more detail.