Yevgeny Fyodorov, one of the United Russia deputies backing the legislation.
A group of Duma deputies is seeking to deprive the Central Bank of its interest rate setting powers, saying that it was set up as a tool of the U.S. government, in a move that has provoked hilarity and incredulity among experts.
Transferring the ability to determine interest rates to the government will "enliven the Russian economy and create new jobs," said United Russia Deputy Yevgeny Fyodorov, who is also a member of the Duma's Budget and Tax Committee.
On Aug. 11, Fyodorov and three other deputies from United Russia submitted to the Duma legislation that would leave the Central Bank with only a regulatory function. The bill will have its first reading in November and could be passed by the lower chamber before the end of the year.
But industry insiders have responded with disbelief. News reports of the initiative were doing the rounds as joke e-mails, one Western banker in Moscow said.
The Central Bank holds itself aloof from internal Russian problems, Fyodorov said by telephone without elaborating. He added that if interest rates were set by the government, they could be slashed.