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Head of Duma's Constitutional Affairs Committee Responds to Petition for Dissolution

Vladimir Pligin, chairman of the State Duma's Constitution and State Affairs Committee, said Thursday it would be unconstitutional for the State Duma to consider its own dissolution even if it does receive a petition reportedly initiated by Novaya Gazeta with over 100,000 signatures.

"The legal status of the State Duma is fully regulated by the Constitution of the Russian Federation. As is well known, the State Duma is elected for a term of five years; elections were held quite recently, and over 60 million people took part. The legitimacy of the formation and operation of the State Duma is not in dispute, and therefore, we believe that the issue that may now be presented cannot be resolved," Pligin said in comments carried by RIA-Novosti.

Signatures for the petition were collected by Novaya Gazeta in response to the recently passed legislation that, among other things, bans adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens. As of Thursday afternoon, the newspaper's website listed 109,086 signatures, though Pligin told journalists that the Duma had not yet officially received any information on the petition.

He said that lawmakers have always devoted great attention to letters and petitions received from citizens.

"Therefore, it is only natural that in the current work of the State Duma, we are already raising questions, calling for the State Duma to develop new forms of cooperation with civil society and non-parliamentary political parties, and work by expert panels has been intensified greatly. Thus, the mechanisms for locating and reflecting a proper understanding of the work of the Duma are being developed," Pligin said.

President Vladimir Putin announced earlier that all initiatives with over 100,000 signatures must be reviewed by the State Duma. Lawmakers have reportedly already begun to develop the concept for a bill to turn such a requirement into law. 

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