Leonid Slutsky (politician)

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Member of Parliament
Leonid Slutsky
Leonid Slutsky 2018.jpg
2018
Deputy of the State Duma
Assumed office
1999
Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs
Assumed office
5 October 2016
Preceded by Aleksey Pushkov
Personal details
Born (1968-01-04) 4 January 1968 (age 50)
Moscow

Leonid Eduardovich Slutsky (Russian: Леонид Эдуардович Слуцкий, also transliterated Leonid Slutskii or Slutskiy; born January 4, 1968) is a member of the State Duma of Russia, a member of the LDPR party. In the 6th State Duma, he was the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on the Commonwealth of Independent States, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots.[1] In the 7th State Duma, Slutsky is the Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs.[2]

In 2018, Slutsky became the central figure of the first ever sexual scandal in the history of the Russian State Duma, widely covered in the Russian and international press and which led to a solidarity boycott of the media regarding the deputy.[3][4][5]

Biography[edit]

Slutsky has been a First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma's Committee on International Affairs, and became Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs in the 7th State Duma. He is dean of the international relations department at the Moscow State University of Economics, Information and Statistics. He has held senior banking positions and was an advisor to the mayor of Moscow. Slutsky also reported to a directorate of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the RSFSR. He holds an economics doctorate from the Moscow Economic-Statistical Institute.[6][7]

On March 17, 2014, the day after the Crimean status referendum, Slutsky became one of the first seven persons who were sanctioned by President Obama under Executive order 13661.[8] The sanctions freeze his assets in the US and ban him from entering the United States. Due to the Crimean crisis, he was put also on the Canadian and the EU sanction lists.[9]

On February 1, 2017, Slutsky signaled a closer relationship between Russia and Syria, stating that the International Affairs Committee was planning a joint session of the State Duma and the People's Council of Syria.[10]

In 2017, Slutsky called Catalan independence referendum a "litmus test" for the European Union, asking "Will Brussels agree with the right of nations to self-determination, as was convenient with Kosovo, or will it continue to insist on the principle of territorial integrity" as it did with Crimea.[11]

Support for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament[edit]

Slutsky has expressed concern about North Korea's missile tests and nuclear weapons development program, urging a return to six-party talks involving North Korea, South Korea, Russia, the United States, China and Japan.[2] On February 24, 2017, he also expressed concern about US political rhetoric criticizing New START, a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russia, and urged talks between the two nations.[12] This was reiterated in response to the plans for increased US military spending announced in the President Donald Trump speech to joint session of Congress, February 2017,[13] and in response to additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defense deployment in neighboring Korea.[14]

Allegations of sexual harassment[edit]

In February 2018 on condition of anonymity two female TV reporters and one producer told the TV channel "Dozhd" about sexual harassment by Slutsky. Later he was officially accused by four female journalists — members of the parliamentary journalist pool, including a BBC Russian Service reporter Farida Rustamova[15] (she was one of the anonymous accusers), a producer of "Dozhd" TV channel Daria Zhuk (she was one of the anonymous accusers),[16][17] ex-reporter of "Kommersant" Anastasia Karimova,[18] and a journalist of RTVI Ekaterina Kotrikadze.[19] In order to testify the claims of its reporter, BBC published the script of the audio record of the frivolous conversation between the journalist and Slutsky which happened in March 2017.[17] Slutsky compared himself to Harvey Weinstein and called it a provocation and black PR.[20]

Having refused to undergo a polygraph test, Slutsky asked not to believe anonymous stories and pointed out the nationality of his accusers (after the journalists made public claims).[21][22] Slutsky also threatened TV channel "Dozhd" with legal actions.[23]

Several parliamentarians, including the "female club" of the Duma (co-chairmen of different political factions: Yelena Serova, Olga Yepifanova, Tamara Pletnyova, Elena Strokova) and the Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin supported Slutsky. The speaker reacted by asking the journalists "Do you feel in danger working at the Duma? If so, then get another job", and related the accusations with political motives of the mass media which employ the victims.[24] LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky described the accusations as ridiculous and the journalists - "spiteful sleazeballs".[25][23][26][27] LDPR faction leader Igor Lebedev, son of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, stated that "female journalists made a specific attempt to defame the international affairs committee chairman".[25] The Human Rights Commissioner of Russia Tatyana Moskalkova took the side of Slutsky and called the accusations "hateful lie".[27]

Oksana Pushkina, a deputy of the United Russia, supported the female journalists in the scandal with Slutsky. In a television interview with RBC she noted that, according to her personal experience and observations, harassment in the State Duma happened before but did not become public.[28][29]

On 26 February the journalists, who work in the Parliament, asked the Duma chairman Volodin to discuss Slutsky's behaviour. The accusations are to be reviewed by the parliament's commission on ethics, which received the journalists' claims.[30][31]

Председатель думской комиссии по этике, депутат четырёх созывов Otari Arshba сказал, что с таким фактом в Госдуме РФ за всю её историю столкнулись впервые[32]

Students of the Faculty of Political Science of Moscow State University demanded to remove Slutsky from the post of head of the department of international relations. Dean of the faculty Andrei Shutov promised to formally review the application, but said about the request that "this is a political game and the intentions of Navalny".[33] The Independent Trade Union of Journalists and Media Workers called on foreign correspondents to ignore Slutsky's opinion as head of the State Duma's international affairs committee "until he takes responsibility for his actions".[34]

On March 8, 2018, when he congratulated women on women's day in his Facebook, Slutsky asked to forgive him "those of them to whom he voluntarily or involuntarily caused any emotional stress"; RBC (Rosbusinessconsulting) associated this apology with the sexual scandal in the State Duma.[18] On the same day, the director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Maria Zakharova, also recalled the ambiguous behavior of Slutsky towards her,[18][35] and the presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak held a single picket near the State Duma walls demanding the resignation of the deputy.[36]

In their editorial comments publications "Meduza" and "Vedomosti" considered the whole situation as a symbol of impunity and the caste system of the current authorities and pointed out that Leonid Slutsky must resign.[20][4]


Criticism[edit]

Property and income[edit]

According to official data, Slutsky's income in 2011 was 1.9 million rubles (64.6 thousand US dollars), in 2016 - 4.9 million (73.3 thousand US dollars). Together with his wife, Slutsky owns 1.2 thousand square meters of land, a house, three apartments, non-residential premises, cars Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Bentley Bentayga, Mercedes-Maybach S500.[37][38][39]

On March 8, 2018, Alexei Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) published an investigation about the property of Leonid Slutsky and accused the deputy of illegal wealth accumulation, as his family does not have an official business, and its total income does not afford to own cars (only two Bentley cars cost about 30 million rubles).[38]

In the same investigation, it is pointed out that Leonid Slutsky has been renting an area of one hectare next to the dacha in Rublevka, and has never declared it. FBK (Anti-Corruption Foundation) sent a request to the State Duma's profile committee and asked to renounce the deputy power of Leonid Slutsky after the investigation.[38][40]

Violating the traffic code[edit]

The investigation of Alexei Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation states that in the period from June 2017 and March 2018, the Mercedes-Maybach S500, owned by Slutsky, violated traffic rules 825 times (including driving on the oncoming lane). The fines amounted to 1.4 million rubles, which makes about 40% of his official income.[39]

Previously, "Novaya Gazeta" newspaper reported that on June 1, 2013, officers of the Chief Directorate of Internal Security of the Ministry of Internal Affairs detained two inspectors of the GIBDD (General Administration for Traffic Safety), who were taking Leonid Slutsky to the airport in a car with the siren light on. Slutsky refused to explain why he was in the car of the traffic police. According to the publication, the deputy was going to fly from the government airport "Vnukovo-3" to Athos together with Patriarch Kirill.[41]

Connections with Russian Orthodox church[edit]

Leonid Slutsky has close relations with the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. On 11 June 2011, the day of Orthodox holiday of Pentecost, Slutsky landed on the territory of Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius on a helicopter, without having warned anyone in advance. It "caused a great deal of surprise which turned into indignation among parishioners and workers of the church".[42] According to the deputy, he hurried to meet with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, but because of traffic jams on the Yaroslavl highway he had to use the services of a helicopter company.[43]

The investigation of Dozhd TV channel indicates that Slutsky is the chairman of the board of the charity foundation "Kronstadt Naval Cathedral", which contributed 1.3 billion rubles to restore The Naval cathedral of Saint Nicholas in the town of Kronstadt, which is a hometown of Svetlana Medvedeva. One of its board members is Vladimir Resin, who is involved in construction works for the Russian Orthodox Church. In 2013 alone, more than one billion rubles of donations were spent on building churches through the fund's accounts.[44]

Andrei Kononov, the general director of the fund, is an assistant to Slutsky on a voluntary basis. The investigation assumes that the fund financed the rebels of the Donetsk People's Republic. Kononov also met with the leadership of the unrecognized republic, bringing priests and icons with him.[44]

Another non-transparent fund of Slutsky, "Russian Peace Foundation", is mentioned in the investigation. Its Saratov department was involved in fraud with land and, among other things, it got a lease on a pond, where, according to the documents, it planned to build a children's car-racing track.[44]

Accusations of bribery[edit]

In January 2017, developer Sergei Polonsky appealed to Prosecutor General of Russia Yury Chaika with a demand to file criminal charges against State Duma deputies Vladimir Resin and Leonid Slutsky. According to him, two deputies extorted a bribe from him and "got 990 m² in the penthouse of the "Kutuzovskaya Riviera" for the contract registration".[45]

Personal life[edit]

Leonid Slutsky is married and has an adult daughter from his first marriage.[46]

In March 2018, a journalist Anna Mongait released a report telling about the relationship between Leonid Slutsky and a singer Zara. The report notes that because of her relationship with Slutsky Zara made a significant political career and in 2016 received the honorary title of "Honored Artist of the Russian Federation".[47]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Кто и почему обвинил депутата Слуцкого в сексуальных домогательствах Ведомости, 23.02.2018
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  32. ^ Cite error: The named reference Аршба was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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  42. ^ Депутат Государственной думы прилетел в Троице-Сергиеву лавру на вертолете
  43. ^ Депутат Слуцкий говорит, что приземлился в Лавре на вертолете из-за спешки на встречу с патриархом, Интерфакс.
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