Russian lawmakers set up ‘anti-foreign meddling’ commission, will send results to PACE, OSCE

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Lawmakers in Moscow are gearing up to examine reports of foreign meddling and deliver the findings to the parliamentary assemblies of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, as well as to the ‘offending’ countries.

On Monday, the council of the State Duma, the lower house of the nation’s parliament, created a 12-person commission tasked with investigating foreign meddling in Russia’s domestic affairs.

Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who is a member of the ruling United Russia Party (ER), said the new body will “analyze and study” and compile reports on all foreign meddling. The findings will later be presented to law enforcement, as well as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE), he said.

The commission’s reports may also be sent to “a number of countries” that “cynically infringe upon our sovereignty” by interfering in Russia’s affairs, Volodin stressed.

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The initiative is a response to growing concerns about possible foreign influence in the recent string of anti-government protests in Moscow. Thousands of people attended rallies, demanding the reinstatement of several opposition candidates, disqualified from running in the city council election in September.

The Foreign Ministry accused the US Embassy in Moscow and German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle of posting messages that encouraged people to participate in unsanctioned rallies, which led to clashes with police. Lawmakers plan to examine these allegations and invite US diplomats and German journalists to the ‘anti-meddling’ commission’s meetings.

The commission’s first meeting will take place in late August.

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