Legal Update – Strategic Industries Bill; Anti-Corruption Bill; Alcohol/Tobacco Advertising Bill

Update: the anti-corruption legislation did not survive its first reading. Virtually the entire United Russia and Just Russia fractions abstained from the vote, even though the bill was sponsored by UR and JR members. I’m sure it was just a scheduling error.

  1. Strategic Industries Legislation: Passed its Third Reading this week. It now goes to the Federation Council and then to President Putin for his signature. President Putin first called for this law on April 25, 2005 in his annual speech to the Federal Assembly. Thus, it is likely that the he will sign the legislation into law around the third anniversary of his speech. But Putin’s signature will not be the last time he puts pen to paper on this issue – as PM, he will be in charge of the Government Commission that approves or denies foreign investment in strategic sectors. There were no changes between the Second and Third Readings (read about the Second Reading here).
  2. Anti-Corruption Legislation: Last week, President-elect Medvedev introduced a new measure that would prohibit control agencies from visiting small businesses without a court order. Today, the Duma initiated the First Reading of a bill, “On the Prevention of the Abuse of Power or Official Authority at the High Level of Government Administration.” Apparently, this legislation was rescued from zakonproekt purgatory, as it was first introduced in 2003, then died, then resurrected in 2005, then died again. Maybe the third time is the charm? I haven’t had the time to read the law thoroughly and I don’t know whether the text has been changed since 2005. I will blog about this more later.
  3. Alcohol/Tobacco Advertising Bill: On April 2, the State Duma passed the first reading of amendments to the Law on Advertising that would outlaw the advertising of alcohol and tobacco in public transport. Though it is significantly tamer, I wonder whether this bill will suffer the same fate as the 2004 ban on public alcohol consumption, which was killed by the Federation Council after passing overwhelmingly in the State Duma.
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