Radical Lawmaker May Face Mental Health Probe
Published: June 16, 2014 (Issue # 1815)
Russian lawmakers face a delicate conundrum as a petition requesting an assessment of the mental health of one of their own flock has gathered more than 103,000 signatures on the web. President Vladimir Putin ordered the parliament last year to review any online petition that gains upwards of 100,000 backers.
The latest petition to cross the threshold targets ultraconservative lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, a self-styled custodian of public morals and crusader against the LGBT lifestyle and the so-called "pedophile lobby."
The petition launched on Onlinepetition.ru, which reached the required amount of signatures on Thursday, lambasted Mizulina over her "proposals to ban everything online."
It also asserted claims that the lawmaker may suffer from schizophrenia, an inferiority complex and "living in her own world."
Though the petition does not seek Mizulina's removal "from the post that she gained through democratic procedures," it does ask the Health Ministry to deploy its "best experts" for an assessment of her "mental health." If the results prove less than satisfactory, the lawmaker should be dismissed, according to the petition.
Mizulina had not commented on the petition as of this article's publication and could not be reached for comment on Sunday. The Duma and the Health Ministry also remained silent on the issue.
The 59-year-old lawmaker, who maintains the appearance of a strict grade-school teacher, has risen in recent years to become one of the most prominent newsmakers in the Duma.
Mizulina — who crossed party lines on three occasions before aligning with the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia — first scored nationwide notoriety in 2013 when she co-penned a bill banning "LGBT propaganda among minors."
Among her most recent initiatives was a proposal for extrajudicial blocks on websites containing expletives — an expansion of a website-blocking law she previously introduced that arguably kickstarted censorship of the Russian Internet.
Mizulina has also backed a ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children, campaigned against abortion and surrogate motherhood, proposed fines for divorcees, and sought to introduce mention of Orthodox Christianity in Russia's current, secular Constitution.
Mizulina's impassioned promotion of conservative morality has made her a favorite target of Russian liberals. Last June, socialite-turned-opposition supporter Ksenia Sobchak even accused Mizulina of preparing a ban on the "promotion of oral sex," though the claim was later debunked.