Intern fired for blowing lid on 'lazy' Russian parliament
Published 27/05/2011 | 05:00
A young intern at the Russian parliament has been sacked after writing a no-holds barred account of how MPs spent their time playing cards, surfing the internet, and fiddling expenses.
Yevgeny Starshov lost his placement after writing an online blog in which he likened the 450-member lower house of parliament to "an office smoking room" where MPs frittered away their time and had to be told how to vote by "a plump old woman dressed in red".
"We of course knew that MPs did absolutely nothing but I have not seen anything like this anywhere," he wrote.
Mr Starshov, who studies at a management school in Moscow, said he saw MPs reading newspapers, surfing the internet and playing cards.
"It is all sad and shameful," he wrote.
He also claimed he had seen evidence of regular expenses fraud while working in the office that processed MPs' expenses.
A Russian MP's average expense claim for travel amounted to €75,000 he disclosed, adding they usually spent €1,000 at the airport waiting for flights.
He named one MP for the ruling United Russia party, who he alleged had got parliament to pay for him to travel 700 miles to sing to local officials.
Mr Starshov said "innocent people" at his school had suffered "disciplinary measures" as a result of his behaviour, but he had no regrets. "I only wrote what I saw with my own eyes," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)