Parliamentarians of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics discuss issues related to inter-parliamentary cooperation

On June 15, a joint workshop, in which the representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics participated, took place in the DPR People’s Council. The event took place within the framework of a programme for the development of inter-parliamentarian cooperation of the DPR and LPR.

The participants made reports and discussed issues concerning the improvement of forms and methods of inter-parliamentarian cooperation.

The Chairman of the DPR People’s Council Denis Pushilin stressed the importance of this event for the People’s Republic in his welcoming address. Furthermore, the Speaker of the DPR Parliament noted that the formation and development of civil society could not be achieved without a well-structured system of legislation, the legislative acts of which were fundamental in the realm of state-building. According to him, the deputies of the LPR achieved some results in tackling this issue, of which they might feel proud.

ʺI believe that the significance of the current event is difficult to overestimate, as it is a new stage in the development of relations between our states, which marks the bringing of previously reached agreements to the level of their practical implementation.

I hope that a joint initiative will prove itself viable, and the results of experience exchange will serve to improve the legislative systems of the Republics and will have a beneficial effect on the development of new, more effective forms and methods of the implementation of deputies’ activity.

Our parliaments have to introduce unique mechanisms to resolve problems in the midst of war, under time constraints and in the context of scarce resources.

Our parliaments have entered a period of systemic work to improve the legislation and, in this regard, I am convinced that the analysis and reframing of cumulative experience will provide strong new impetus to legislative activity and allow propelling the inter-parliamentarian cooperation to new heights.

The legislative activity of the Lugansk deputies traditionally is a focus of our careful attention. We commend the ability of our esteemed colleagues to find simple and effective solutions in those areas of public relations, the normative regulation of which traditionally represents the known complexity.

For our part, we are fully open and ready to share our achievements, hoping that our practical experience and scientific potential will be useful to you.

For instance, it is subject to the study of the experience of the Interim Commission of the DPR People’s Council on Activity Control and Coordination in the areas most affected by the armed aggression of Ukraine. The establishment of such body was dictated by the need to strengthen the work of deputies in the frontline areas, to establish communication with citizens in isolation. The idea of the establishment of the Interim Commission found wide support among the deputies, and its work was properly appreciated by the population of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

I have no doubt that the Lugansk colleagues have an impressive array of forms and methods of working with voters, which is of a keen interest to our deputy corps,ʺ Denis Pushilin said.

The Chairman of the LPR People’s Council Denis Miroshnichenko, in turn, mentioned that the idea to hold the join workshop emanated a little over a month ago, in particular, on May 12, during the visit of the DPR official delegation to Lugansk for participation in festive events dedicated to the Day of the Lugansk People’s Republic.

ʺWhen we participated in the solemn event dedicated to the Republic Day, we decided that the parliamentary relations between Lugansk and Donetsk should find a new, more systematic approach. And it is very pleasing that, a month later, we are directly turning to our work, which we discussed,ʺ the Speaker of the DPR Parliament said.

He drew the attention of the meeting to the fact that the main objective of the programme on the development of inter-parliamentary cooperation was to improve the life of the citizens of the Republics.

ʺThe people, who are here, should understand that the work done at the parliamentary level, first and foremost, is aimed to be of benefit to the citizens of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics,ʺ Denis Miroshnichenko said.

According to him, two brother Republics “do not walk the path of rivalry, but solidarity”.

ʺThere is no rivalry between Lugansk and Donetsk, as it is presented sometimes. On the contrary, we demonstrate solidarity, we show that we are building our Republics shoulder to shoulder. The leaders of our Republics do not walk the path of rivalry, but solidarity in order to, first of all, to improve the life of the citizens of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics,ʺ Denis Miroshnichenko said.

The parliamentarians presented a brief overview on a situation concerning the resolving of problematic issues, which had come from the inhabitants of frontline areas, as well as issues related to the building of legislation and social sphere.

Thus, the DPR People’s Council deputy, the Head of the Interim Commission on Activity Control and Coordination in the areas most affected by the armed aggression of Ukraine, Ekaterina Martyanova, described the Commission’s goals and objectives, as well as shared information on results achieved.

ʺThe critical situation associated with the constant violation of cease-fire regime by the Ukrainian side prompted the establishment of the Interim Commission in October, 2017, the main objectives of which were to the collection, examination and systematization of information on problems encountered by the inhabitants of the frontline areas, as well as the development of prompt response mechanisms.

Acute social problems in the frontline areas, in particular the issues of reconstruction of destroyed and damaged housing, infrastructure facilities, repair of engineering systems and road maintenance, were jointly reviewed by the executive authorities and local self-government bodies.

In view of the ongoing hostilities, assistance will continue to be provided to the inhabitants of the frontline areas,ʺ Ekaterina Martyanova said.

A parliamentarian briefed the meeting on a social project activity called “People’s Control” in conclusion of the report. According to Ekaterina Martyanova, the project is one of the elements of the formation of civil society and rule of law, building of a legal dialogue between the state and civil institution. To sum up, a deputy emphasized the importance of interaction between the authorities and the public in the process of building a legal, democratic and socially oriented state.

The Chairman of the Committee of the DPR People’s Council on Civil and Arbitration Law Alexander Bykadorov, in turn, noted that meetings in this format were useful for the development of effective inter-parliamentary cooperation. A deputy spoke of the priorities of the Committee’s work, which was headed by him, and proposed to the colleagues from the LPR to exchange experience in the organization of legislative work.

ʺThere are 11 bills, including the Civil Code of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Civil Procedure Code of the Donetsk People’s Republic, are being drafted in the Committee at the moment.

The establishment of such systemically important acts, as Codes, implies a special approach in the organization of legislative work, beginning with the formation of a group of specialized specialists and ending with the development of a consolidated position on all conceptual issues. In this regard, we would like to exchange experience with the colleagues regarding the operation of the Committee’s working groups, which are created out of the permanent representatives that belong to government bodies and scientific community and coordinated by a member of the Committee. The main focus of such working groups is a preliminary and thorough discussion of a draft law at the level of the specialized specialists with the subsequent introduction of the prepared variants of decisions for the consideration by the Committee. This approach allows minimizing the costs of preparation and discussion of a draft law, as well as increasing the efficiency of law-drafting activities in general,ʺ Alexander Bykadorov said.

The Head of the parliamentary faction “Donetsk Republic” Alexander Kostenko reported on the participation of deputies in the formation of legislative framework with regard to ensuring the sustainability and richness of the discussion of draft laws.

ʺThe faction activity was aimed at resolving socially relevant issues related to the development of the state and society throughout the whole period of the parliament’s work. The deputies of the fraction participate in state programmes, social projects, science conferences and forums, they actively cooperate with government executive bodies, they are in constant communication with voters. Identification of needs and solving the problems of the citizens have been and remain the major concern of the faction. Reception of citizens is the main form of work.

Separate consideration needs to be given to the creation of the long-term development strategy of the state entitled “The Power of Donbass” in April this year, in discussion of which was discussed not only by deputies, but also by the citizens of the Donetsk People’s Republic. This programme has become a foundation for further activity of the faction, aimed at the development of agroindustrial complex, stabilizing economics, modernizing education and health care and training of the potential staff of the Republic.

Equally important area of the faction activity is the participation of deputies in the implementation of the Humanitarian programme for the reunification of the people of Donbass. The major objective is to develop and strengthen cultural, humanitarian and professional relations, to deliver social and administrative services, to support socially vulnerable inhabitants of the region and provide material assistance.

In particular, medical, financial and legal support is provided to the inhabitants of the territory controlled by Ukraine, quotas for access to higher and specialized secondary education in the territory of the DPR are established, events, which are oriented towards preserving the spiritual and cultural values of the region and promotion of a healthy lifestyle, are held on a continuous basis,ʺ a deputy said.

The deputies of the Lugansk People’s Republic spoke after the reports of the DPR parliamentarians.

According to the Chairman of the Committee of the LPR People’s Republic on Legislative and Regulatory Activity, State Building, Innovation and Regulatory Policy, Local Government and Organization of the People’s Council’s work Denis Kolesnikov, the citizens of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics constitute a single people with a shared history and future.

ʺDespite the sovereignty of our republics, we are one people with common external and internal tasks. Unification is a necessary and logical process of development for the Republics. The inter-parliamentarian cooperation should be directed to the creation and application of uniform rules and termination of rules of the Ukrainian government that contradict them. Therefore, it is necessary to consider cooperation in this direction,ʺ a parliamentarian said.

In his view, the inter-parliamentarian cooperation is one of the stages of the convergence among legal frameworks.

ʺGiven a common yearning for peace in our land, common kinship and desire of our states for sovereignty, the inter-parliamentarian cooperation in the area of the unification of our legal frameworks is a matter of priority for all of us,ʺ Denis Kolesnikov expressed his position.

In turn, the Chairman of the Committee on Health Care, Education, Science, Culture, Labour, Family, Youth, Sport and Tourism Valery Galinkin told about the directions of work of the Committee headed by him and the acting mechanisms of interaction between legislative and executive branches of power in the LPR.

ʺWe, as representatives of legislative power, has taken on a great responsibility for the fate of our regions. We face a task not only to create a legislative framework of the state, but to establish cooperation with the bodies of executive power. Our main goal is to ensure comfortable conditions for the citizens of our state in order to make them trust the leadership of the Republic and feel confident in the effectiveness of its actions,ʺ a parliamentarian said.

According to Valery Galinkin, the directions of the Committee’s activity are broad and include four directions: the area of health care, area of education and science, area of culture, family, youth and sport, as well as the area of labour and social policy. A deputy also reported that the Committee was actively cooperating with four social funds, including the Pension Fund, and holding regular meeting with relevant ministries and agency.

ʺMeetings, which have such a format, allows us to define a clear plan for the drafting of a bill. In addition, it accelerates the process of formation of the non-normative legal act and fosters the sense of a team among the representatives of the authorities,ʺ a deputy said.

The second part of the meeting began with a speech of the Chairman of the Committee of the DPR People’s Council on Budget, Finance and Economic Policy Marina Zheynova. A parliamentarian described legislative activities on issues within the competence of the Committee in her report.

ʺBills “On concessions” and “On foreign investments” are being drafted by our Committee, while the laws of the Lugansk People’s Republic such as “On investment activity” and “On concession activity” are at the stage of realization. Thus, it is quite logical that the practice of law enforcement of the aforementioned legislative acts in the territory of the friendly Republic is of practical interest to us.

When it comes to the prospects for cooperation between the parliaments of the Republics, is worth mentioning that the harmonization of tax and customs legislation is a priority, as well as the unification of customs claims. It goes without saying that the Committee studies the experience of our colleagues by thrashing out proposals for amendments. For example, a draft law providing for the introduction of a fixed rate of simplified tax is being prepared for voting in the near future. Such legislative regulation showed its effectiveness in the Lugansk People’s Republic.

I propose to unite efforts on development of draft laws in financial, banking and investment spheres. To achieve this goal I find it prudent to hold working meetings in the format of a round table with the participation of relevant committees, representatives of public authorities of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics,ʺ a parliamentarian proposed.

In turn, the Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building Vladimr Bidyovka noted that one of the sources of law in the were normative legal acts, the adoption of which represented a certain process involving preparation, adoption, publication and enactment.

ʺLaw “On normative legal acts” lays down the procedure for the establishment of normative legal acts as a basis for the establishment of law system of the Donetsk People’s Republic. It is worth noting that similar laws are adopted neither in Ukraine nor the Russian Federation. I know that a comparable law is adopted in the Lugansk People’s Republic. I thus consider it to be our most important achievement and contribution to the system of law of our Republics.

The Committee is also working on the draft law “On state civil service”, which is prepared to regulate the issues of the state civil service as one of the forms of public service. Specific attention is given to the issues of ensuring equal access of citizens to the civil service, as well as issues of counteraction to corruption through control of conformity of expenditures of a person that holds an official state position, family of a person, their income. The Civil Service Act has been in force since 2015 in the Lugansk People’s Republic. We also plan to take into consideration the experience of our colleagues in our work,ʺ a deputy said.

Highlighting the tasks assigned to the Committee of the DPR People’s Council on Criminal and Administrative Legislation, its chairman Alexey Zhigulin pointed out that they were are dictated by the current state of criminal law system on the one hand and the prospects of its development on the other.

ʺThe legislation is characterized by contradictory nature at the current stage. One part of relations is regulated by the norms of Ukraine, the other one – by the norms of the DPR. And many provisions of the Ukrainian legislation are fundamentally different from the accepted in the Republic and should be replaced in the shortest terms.

In this regard, the state faces a conceptual choice how to form and develop its own effective criminal policy, defined as the attitude of the authorities to crime. The Committee is developing a concept of criminal policy that the specification of objectives, directions, priorities and criteria for the effectiveness of normative and enforcement activity.

Our ultimate goal is to create an appropriate legal framework that will ensure the protection of individuals, society and the State from unlawful manifestations and lead all law enforcement agencies, procurators and courts to a coordinated functioning,ʺ a parliamentarian said.

The reports of the deputies of the LPR People’s Council Elena Kravchenko and Nellie Zadiraka were presented at the conclusion of the second part of the meeting.

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Committee on State Security and Defence, Law Enforcement Agencies and Judicial System, Legality, Protection of Human and Civil Rights and Freedoms Elena Kravchenko, the deputies and members of the Committee draft bills in such a way that they are synchronized with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

ʺOur Committee considers the strategic tasks of the state, public, defence and other kinds of security of the Republic. We are responsible for forecasting and prevention of emergency situations, as well as for overcoming their consequences and ensuring the observance of the rule of law. We are also engaged in improving the regulatory framework of law enforcement agencies and internal troops, ensuring the legitimacy of their activity. We work on the creation of necessary conditions for the functioning of courts. Also, the development and adoption of measures to protect human rights and freedoms is one of our major areas of work.

Working group comprising the members of the Committee and the representatives of national security, defence and law enforcement agencies of the Republic has been working efficiently in the LPR since the beginning of 2015. The Working group has drafted such fundamental draft bills as the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes, the Administrative Violations Code of the Lugansk People’s Republic, as well as laws that regulate the work of law enforcement agencies and court system of the Lugansk People’s Republic,ʺ a parliamentarian said.

The Chairman of the Committee on International Relations, Liaison, Information Policy and Mass Communication Nellie Zadiraka called on the colleagues to enhance the interaction of parliaments of the People’s Republics and to involve the bodies of the executive power in the work.

ʺOur parliaments were looking forward to this meeting, and we have to take stock of our legislative activity, outline the way of our further cooperation and development of our Republics today.

The People’s Councils of the Republics independently developed legislative framework and established priority areas, even competed. Today, we have to understand that we share the same path, which we charted in 2014. Therefore, we have to bring legislation to uniform norms and standards.

The recognition of our Republics is the most painful issue. But, despite our non-recognition, we must assert ourselves and enter the world arena. It is possible to learn from the experience of other countries, such as Abkhazia, which is recognized by Syria. However, these tasks need to be addressed only together. Our Republics should become strong, reliable and rich, and our parliaments need to intensify joint activity of our parliaments, to connect executive branch of power, to supervise realization of our laws for this purpose. We should not slow down. People are waiting for what we promised them in 2014,ʺ a deputy summed up.

According to the results of the workshop, the Speakers of the DPR and LPR parliaments Denis Pushilin and Denis Miroshnichenko signed a Protocol on cooperation between the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

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