State Duma deputies have approved a bill on expanding immunity for former Russian presidents in its first reading. The draft legislation is intended to bring Federal law in line with the country’s newly amended constitution.
The bill protects former presidents from prosecution after they leave office, explicitly stating that they “cannot be held criminally or administratively liable.” Currently, Federal law only grants former presidents immunity for crimes committed while in office.
According to the bill, a former president can only be deprived of immunity if charged with high treason or some other “grave offense.” That said, the draft legislation also complicates the procedure for stripping a former president of immunity.
One of the authors of the bill, the head of the Duma’s state-building and legislation committee, Pavel Krasheninnikov, specified that the new provisions of the bill under consideration only apply to former presidents of the Russian Federation, but do not extend to the USSR’s first president, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian state news agency TASS reports.