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Russia: National Version of Presidential Libraries

(Feb. 2, 2008) On January 9, 2008, the Government of the Russian Federation introduced to the legislature a bill on legacy centers for presidents whose term of office has expired. The bill was almost unanimously approved by the State Duma (parliament) of the Russian Federation. According to this newly passed legislation, the federal government will establish a president's legacy center, which will include a museum of the former head of state, his archive, a library, and a small think tank to conduct research on issues related to the activities of the former president. This act is aimed at memorializing the legacy of President Vladimir Putin, whose term expires in May of this year. The law does not cover the presidency of former president Boris Yeltsin and specifies that for future presidents, a special legislative act will be passed.

The law provides for the creation of such centers under the supervision of the current presidential administration, following consultation with the former head of state. In addition to the federal budget financing, financing from other sources is allowed. The law also provides for the center's independence; unlike regular nongovernmental organizations, these centers are protected from government control. The government has no right to intervene in the center's activities, to close it, or to declare it bankrupt. The center can conduct commercial activities, such as manufacturing and selling souvenirs related to the former president. The initiators of this law believe that the creation of such centers will help to keep former presidents involved in Russia's political process. (Vladimir Pligin, To Preserve Russian History [in Russian], REGNUM NEWS AGENCY, Jan. 10, 2008.)