Duma speaker warns fellow MPs against taking selfies in parliament after bottlegate

A Russian Lower House speaker has called upon assembly members to show a more serious approach to their work and suggested that some alleged recent mistakes in voting were made because someone was taking selfies.

Vyacheslav Volodin told the parliamentarians on Thursday that, in his opinion, it was impossible to take selfies and official political decisions at the same time. He said that they should be more attentive with new technologies in general and reminded members that all State Duma sessions are being broadcast live online.

Such telling off might seem strange, especially when it comes from a top state official and is addressed to adults who occupy seats in a national parliament, but there is an explanation behind this chiding.

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Volodin spoke about the controversy which took place earlier this week and was widely advertised by Russian mass media. As the State Duma was voting for the pension reform bill in the second reading someone noticed that Communist Party MP Zhores Alferov supported the motion, despite the fact that he had earlier promised not to, and did not even attend the Duma session at which the voting took place.

The bill orders a gradual increase in retirement age and all leftist parties, including communists voiced a strong opposition against it.

The mystery was quickly solved as another Communist Party lawmaker, Sergey Kazankov, confessed that he had accidentally voted, instead of his party comrade, while putting a bottle of water on his table. The Russian Duma has an electronic voting system and MPs vote by pressing buttons at special tables in front of their seats.

Still, Volodin chided the lawmaker – saying that conflicts often emerge when “people start to reach out to other peoples buttons.”

Alferov has not yet commented on the situation. It is also not clear if the “bottle vote” was counted as valid.

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