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Blogger claims Duma deputies are on the fiddle

File Photo of Duma in Session
[file photo]
A Duma intern turned whistleblower-blogger has revealed expense scams and time-wasting in Russia's legislature.

From reading magazines and playing cards during Duma sessions to claiming expenses for overseas trips, the sharp-eyed blogger posted a raft of time-wasting and expense fiddling violations on his government critical LiveJournal page.

"The first part of my work as an intern at one of the Russia state's most hallowed halls has come to an end," yeenzo wrote on his blog. "It has formed a lot of impressions on me, some good and some bad, I will tell you about them in order."

All expenses paid

He describes how he ended up in the department for MPs' travel expenses, checking up on deputies' accounts. Put in charge of routine work, he and his colleagues had to look at the books, check them and transfer them onto the computer base, before taking them to relevant superiors and accountants.

"Some deputies had tried to give their identities to friends and so forth and fly for free where they weren't supposed to. Whenever this happened we had to strike out the sum in question and start counting again," he said.

Big names

And some interesting names came up, "for example our own [singer] Josif Kobzon flew to Kaliningrad for his concert for the regional administration at the expense of the Duma.

"[Gymnast Svetlana] Khorkina also abused the Duma budget when she went home to visit relatives," yeenzo accused.

So far there has been no reaction from either of the deputies named, nor from anyone at the lower house of Russia's parliament.

Site closed

The blogger's angry blast was reported in Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, but while his blog was still accessible at LiveJournal, the incriminating pages were unavailable on Tuesday morning.

LiveJournal has struggled with hacker attacks in recent weeks, prompting some to claim that critics of the authorities were being targeted, although in this case it is unclear whether the information was removed by the blogger himself or by site admin.

Whiling away the hours

And MPs have short attention spans, it seems. The blogger says that when he went to a session of the State Duma he was taken aback by the way they spent their time on the taxpayer's dollar,

"WTF?!?!?! We know, of course, that MPs f**k about, but I have never seen f**king about like this... They all chat away freely to one another, read magazines, play cards on the rows in front. United Russia people were playing on iPads.

"Everywhere there was this atmosphere of p*ssing around and f**king around, even in speaker [Oleg] Morozov's chair," he revealed

Other cases

Russia is not the only country to experience expenses scams among its lawmakers. In 2009 Britain's parliament was rocked by an expenses scandal, which saw MPs claiming inappropriately for housing expenses and led to criminal charges and public uproar.

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