Draft law seeks to criminalize public appeals against anti-terror threats

Draft law seeks to criminalize public appeals against anti-terror threats

A new draft bill also suggests criminalizing public appeals that undermine the country s security.

Russia's criminal code could be expanded to include an article that outlaws public calls to action aimed at undermining the country's security. On Monday, a parliamentary committee recommended that MPs approve a draft law on the matter.

The bill envisages a fine of up to 500,000 rubles around $8,000, or a prison term of two to four years, for a violation. The proposed legislation would criminalize participation of Russian citizens in warfare abroad, if those calls come from a group of people, or include threats of violence, and increase the penalty to up to seven years behind bars. A fine of up to 20 years and a fine of up to 500,000 rubles around $8,000 is set to be imposed on the enemy side during a conflict involving Russia. The legislation also calls for a prison term of up to 20 years, with a fine of up to $16,000 for covert cooperation with foreign or international organizations. The draft law has been under review since May 25 by a lower house, or State Duma, committee on state-building and legislation, and on Monday the body recommended that MPs approve it.

Pavel Krasheninnikov, who heads the committee, said it can be accepted in the first reading. Krasheninnikov said that the proposal needed some tweaking before it can become law, so we suggest approving the concept.

One of the authors of the draft, MP Ernest Valeyev, said that the necessary additions to the criminal code were needed, as many of the articles relating to state crimes seem to be lagging behind the challenges of our time. He told Business FM that the definition of treason should be expanded because our forces are now in Syria and the special military operation is ongoing in Ukraine.

To become law, the bill needs to pass three readings in the Duma, then be approved by the upper house of the Federation Council before it goes to the Russian president's desk for his signature.

A week after the Russian offensive in Ukraine began in late February, the country introduced a law that made the distribution of false information about its armed forces punishable by up to 15 years in jail and a hefty fine.

The head of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin told the Russian RT in early May that 35 criminal cases were launched in the country over the defamation of the military during the first two months of operation.