On May 12, the parliament approved a package of important legislation. It covered the forcible seizure of Russian property in Ukraine, the functioning of local self-government, simplified the rebuilding of housing destroyed in the current war, and unlocked VAT refunds to businesses.
Parliamentarians approved the law for the nationalization of the Ukrainian “daughters” of Sberbank of Russia and other Russian institutions, with 334 voting in favor.
The bill corresponds to the Decree issued by President Zelensky dated May 11 on the decision of the National Security and Defense Council regarding the forcible seizure of property belonging to the Russian Federation and its residents in Ukraine.
The documents accompanying the bill state “To forcibly confiscate property rights of the Russian Federation and its residents in 99.8% of shares in Prominvestbank (PIB, Kyiv) owned by the Russian state development corporation VEB.RF and 100% of shares of the International Reserve Bank (MR Bank, formerly Sberbank, Kyiv), owned by Sberbank of Russia.”
The most debated piece of legislation was the bill on the functioning of local self-government during martial law.
According to the bill’s authors, its adoption will prevent the loss of state control during martial law.
The law includes, in particular, the provision on the right for bodies of local self-government to dismiss employees and hire them without the use of competitive procedures (though competitive procedures must take place once martial law has been lifted.
Yuliya Tymoshenko. the head of the Batkivshchyna faction, supporting the introduction of martial law and empowerment of military administrations, stressed the importance of preserving local self-government as the basis for democracy in Ukraine. According to her, it is expedient to transfer the powers of local self-government authorities to military administrations only in occupied territories or if a local self-government authority has disbanded itself or relinquished its duties.
Lawmaker Mykola Kniazhytsky of the European Solidarity faction pointed out that the heads of territorial communities will be provided with exclusive powers to adopt decisions, of which they must inform the head of the military administration within 24 hours. “The bill does not establish any safeguards that would determine the legality, justification of such decisions, and the absence of abuse,” he said, warning that in settlements where the situation is under control, community leaders may abuse such powers.
The bill on local self-government nevertheless was eventually approved.
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