MOSCOW, July 23 (RAPSI) - Konstantin Dobrynin, deputy head of the constitutional law committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, addressed Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with a proposal to establish a special commission to deal with legal matters that affect national interests and to prevent the seizure of Russia’s assets abroad, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

In his letter to Medvedev, Dobrynin wrote that the seizure of Russia’s assets with a possible court-enforced collection as part of the lawsuit by former Yukos shareholders “may not be the only case, even if it is the largest, and it may well set a precedent.” “Using this case, many foreign corporations and even government bodies in other countries may try to follow the example of the former Yukos beneficiaries and impose additional indirect quasi-financial sanctions on Russia.”

The senator suggested that a commission with specific authority could coordinate the operation of the government bodies that are dealing with the “potential legal and financial implications of the current situation,” that is, the Yukos case. In this case, the Finance Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Central Bank are involved.

A commission could be established with assistance from the Federal Chamber of Lawyers and Corporate Attorneys, Dobrynin believes.

The status and functions of a commission or a representative for Russian officials must be clearly stated in a presidential decree or a federal law, the senator says.

Dobrynin believes that Russian officials as representatives of the defendant in the Yukos ex-shareholders’ lawsuit “have coordinated efforts poorly and have not been efficient in their case against the plaintiff having made chaotic and behind-the-scenes decisions on strategic issues.” 

In mid-June, several EU countries froze Russia’s assets as the result of a lawsuit by former Yukos shareholders who won a trial at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The Russian Foreign Ministry announced that Moscow sees such an action as a serious violation of international law and that the rulings would be appealed. Sergei Gavrilov, Head of the State Duma Committee on Property Issues, announced that he intended to draft a bill that would protect Russia’s property abroad.