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Duma to ban officials from marrying foreigners

Published time: August 10, 2012 13:03
Edited time: August 10, 2012 17:03
RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko

After announcing possible amendments banning Russian officials from owning real estate and other property abroad, the State Duma is planning a ban on public servants marrying foreigners.

The author of the bill, United Russia MP Evgeny Fyodorov has told the press that the document includes this restriction.

“Wives and underage children of civil servants must also declare their property and cannot own property or real estate outside the Russian Federation. If a civil servant’s spouse is a foreigner, this person would not have the right to occupy the post. The officials will have to vacate their post if they wish to marry foreigners,” the Lifenews website quoted Fyodorov as saying.

The MP added that foreign spouses were a major factor of foreign influence on state officials and the situation had to change.

The move will not be an absolutely new invention, but the tightening of the existing norms that state that the officials with clearance to work with state secrets cannot marry foreigners.

On the other hand, Fyodorov said that the group that is working on the bill decided to soften it by excluding the Commonwealth of Independent States from the list of countries where civil servants cannot have property.

“We were one country before and many people have relatives there, their roots are there and we will not list the territories of the CIS states or the Customs Union as foreign states where property ownership is banned. We will bring this issue up at the second reading,” Fyodorov said.

The move was supported by Sergey Zheleznyak, the head of United Russia faction in the lower house.

Earlier this month all parliamentary factions in the State Duma backed the proposal to ban the civil servants from owning property abroad, including securities and bank deposits. The MPs suggested those violating this regulation should be held criminally responsible and punished with a three-year ban from holding public office, and between 5 and 10 million rubles (US$150,000 – $300,000) in fines, or up to five years in prison.

An initial draft of the bill also orders civil servants to disclose ownership of foreign property, and sell it off within six months. The law would apply to inherited property and even to individuals leaving state service, effective up to three years post-resignation for both ex-officials and their families.

There are exceptions in the bill for those who need foreign property and bank accounts for work, medical treatment or academic studies.

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