Nascent Advisory Board in State Duma

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The State Duma instituted a body of advisors to committee heads who will be working on a voluntary basis. It will contribute to the parliament’s prestige and facilitate the work of experts whose advice is valuable for lawmaking, Vyacheslav Volodin told Interfax. “The chairman of a committee will have three experts ranked as pro bono advisers, and then we shall focus on this task. We may develop this institution further”, said the speaker. Previously, the lower house decided to appoint advisers to faction leaders. They can pick up to four “reference experts”.

Alexey Mukhin, General Director of the Center for Political Information, stressed the political expediency of advisers.Former deputies can easily find a job both in public office and in business. And liberals are keen on devaluing the future work of advisers, which cannot be neglected by those who seek to analyze the legislative process. We are dealing with expertise which shapes legislation. It is an important matter. Until recently, expert opinion was outsourced.” Moreover, parliamentarians occasionally faced situations discrediting the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament. Institutionalizing or officializing experts’ influence on deputies is necessary to prevent more incidents of the kind.

Pavel Danilin, Director General of the Center for Political Analysis, also stressed the importance of public advisors. As he put it, “On the one hand, the institution is needed as a channel of communication between the people’s servants and academic circles. On the other hand, it should seriously improve the performance both of the committees and the State Duma in general. Experienced professionals in each sphere will contribute to analytical studies and effective law drafting.  It remains to be seen what field recruited advisors will be experienced in. I believe that each chairman should individually determine what they really need. Whereas the Committee on Foreign Affairs may engage lawyers, diplomats, and international relations specialists, the Committee on State Building and the Committee on Education are more likely to seek lawyers and experts on education respectively. In fact, there is no universal recipe for organizing a team. The personnel should be picked to carry out the task at hand.


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