Leonid Slutsky (politician)

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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 byAleksey Pushkov
Personal details
Born (1968-01-04) 4 January 1968 (age 51)
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] Chairman of the Board of the International Public Foundation “Russian Peace Foundation”. Doctor of Economic Sciences.

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]

In October 2018, Slutsky expressed concern that United States plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty would result in a new Cold War and potentially an armed confrontation.[12][13]

Allegations of sexual harassment[edit]

In February 2018 BBC Russian Service reporter Farida Rustamova,[14] TV Dozhd producer Daria Zhuk,[15][16] former Kommersant reporter Anastasia Karimova and RTVi journalist Ekaterina Kotrikadze[17] accused Slutsky of sexual harassment through Dozhd and BBC. The accusations were discussed in Russian media all over spring 2018. In response Slutsky compared himself to Harvey Weinstein, claimed to be the target for defamation and provocation and threatened TV Dozhd with legal actions.[18] [19]

A number of parliamentarians spoke in defense of Slutsky including so-called State Duma “female club” (co-chairmen of different political factions: Yelena Serova, Olga Yepifanova, Tamara Pletnyova, Elena Strokova) and the Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin who linked the accusations to political motives.[20][21][22]// The United Russia deputy Oksana Pushkina supported the female journalists and stated in a television interview with RBC that, according to her observations and experiences, sexual harassment in State Duma had occurred in the past but never went public.[23][24]

On March 8, 2018 Slutsky congratulated women on International Women’s Day in a Facebook post and apologized to "those of them to whom he voluntarily or involuntarily caused any emotional stress". RBC associated that apology with the sexual scandal in the State Duma.[25][26] 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.[25][27].

At the end of February the journalists from State Duma press pool approached legislature’s leaders with request to discuss the behavior of Leonid Slutsky.[28][29] On March 21 2018 the State Duma Commission on Ethics headed by Otari Arshba reviewed testimonies and evidence provided by Rustamova, Zhuk, Karimova, Kotrikadze and Slutsky and came to the conclusion that there were no “violations of behavioral norms” in Leonid Slutsky’s actions thus exonerating Slutsky of the allegations. According to Arshba that was the first time the Commission had to review such a case and that the reasoning was limited to one person's word against another’s. He also pointed out that the journalists were in the right to address the law enforcement authorities with the arguments and materials provided to the commission.[30][31][32][16]

In response to commission’s decision more than a dozen Russian news outlets announced a boycott either to Slutsky and Commission members in person or State Duma in whole.[33][32][34][35][36] Some newspapers like Meduza and Vedomosti in their editorial commentaries associated the decision with impunity of the authorities and noted that Slutsky should resign.[18][37]

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.[38][39][40]

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).[39]

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.[39][41]

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.[40]

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.[42]

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".[43] 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.[44]

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.[45]

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.[45]

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.[45]

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".[46]

Personal life[edit]

Leonid Slutsky is married and has an adult daughter from his first marriage.[47]

In March 2018, journalist Anna Mongait reported that singer Zara advanced her political career and received the title of "Honored Artist of the Russian Federation" because of her relationship with Slutsky.[48]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "N Korea's Missile Test 'Provokes New Spiral of Tensions Near Russian Borders'". sputniknews.com. 12 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017. the chairman of the Russian lower house of parliament's international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky
  3. ^ Кто и почему обвинил депутата Слуцкого в сексуальных домогательствах Ведомости, 23.02.2018
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  20. ^ Ирина Кравцова. «Если не оказываешь женщине знаков внимания, она может обидеться» Meduza, 27.02.2018
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  43. ^ Депутат Государственной думы прилетел в Троице-Сергиеву лавру на вертолете
  44. ^ Депутат Слуцкий говорит, что приземлился в Лавре на вертолете из-за спешки на встречу с патриархом, Интерфакс.
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