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Lawmakers scuffle as Russian State Duma approves first reading of controversial vaccine pass legislation
The first reading of a controversial draft bill on requiring QR-code vaccine passes for accessing public places in Russia led to a scuffle between Communist Party and United Russia lawmakers in the State Duma on Thursday, December 16.
The tussle broke out after Communist Party deputies staged a protest against the bill, unfurling a banner that read “KPRF against QR-fascism.” Parliamentary Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin called the protest a “circus” and lamented that deputies “receiving half a million rubles each, have started putting on shows.”
In the end, the bill was adopted in the first reading with 329 lawmakers in favor and 87 opposed (just one deputy abstained).
The lawmakers also adopted a special resolution recommending that the Cabinet work out issues pertaining to the implementation of the law by the second reading.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova announced new mechanisms by which those who received foreign coronavirus vaccines or recovered from suspected coronavirus cases (but never received an official diagnosis) would also be able to obtain QR-code passes for accessing public places.
In November, the Russian government submitted a draft law to the State Duma that would require people to present QR codes documenting either vaccination against COVID-19 or a past diagnosis in order to visit many public places. The legislation was accompanied by a second bill that would require QR-codes for accessing certain forms of transportation. However, the State Duma decided to shelve the second bill, citing popular backlash.
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