Top Russian Officials Say They Won't Investigate Corruption Claims Against Prime Minister
Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS
The Russian parliament will not question Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on allegations of corruption, senior politicians have confirmed.
Deputies from Russia's State Duma told the Dozhd television channel that they would not call for an investigation into the claims. Medvedev is scheduled to address parliament with a report on the cabinet's work in April 2016. Activists hoped the event would be an opportunity to address the allegations.
They dismissed accusations that Medvedev heads a multi-billion dollar corruption empire as a campaign tactic by opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Navalny is running to become Russian president in the country's 2018 elections.
Andrei Isayev, deputy leader of Vladimir Putin's ruling United Russia party, said that Navalny had invented the claims. "This is Navalny's fantasy,” he said. “Why should these claims interest us?"
The deputy head of the Just Russia faction, Mikhail Yemelyanov, also branded the claims as false. “Deputies are interested in government policy and its social and economic impact, and not fake news," he told Dozhd.
Russia's Liberal Democrat Party (LDPR) and the Russian Communist Party — Russia's largest opposition forces — did not question whether the claims were true or not, but said that they would not call for further scrutiny.
The Communist Party said that “such questions would need to be asked as part of a parliamentary investigation,” while the LDPR said that the corruption allegations were not important for voters.
"Our voters are not interested in Navalny's investigation. They have more important problems such as housing, for example."
Russia's Anti-Corruption Foundation — an NGO created by opposition leader Alexei Navalny in 2011 — accused Medvedev of collecting bribes through charitable organizations run by close friends and former classmates on March 2.
The organization reported that Medvedev owned four mansions across the country, as well as two large plots of land in Krasnodar, an Italian vineyard, and a lavish residential building in the heart of St. Petersburg as well as two yachts.
Medvedev's press secretary, Natalia Timakova, refused to comment on the findings, calling them "propaganda attacks by a convicted felon."