This would also include discrediting the armed forces, calling for sanctions against Russia and inciting extremist activities. According to Volodin, the bill, which according to state media is supported by all major parliamentary groups, will be presented in the Duma on Monday. The Duma is the lower house of the Russian parliament.
“Punish villains who throw dirt”
“Anyone who tries to destroy Russia, who betrays it, must receive the punishment they deserve and pay for the damage they have caused to the country,” Volodin said via Telegram. It is necessary to punish the “scoundrels” who “throw dirt on our country, soldiers and officers who participate in the special military operation.” “Special military operation” is the official Russian term for the war of aggression against Ukraine.
The law allows for the confiscation of “money, valuables and other assets that have been used or are intended to finance criminal activities against the security of the Russian Federation”. Volodin listed eight crimes that could lead to the expropriation of those affected, including demanding and supporting sanctions against Russia.
Volodin's voice has great weight
The law must be approved in three readings in the Duma and then in the Federation Council (upper house) until Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin signs it and it comes into force. Volodin's initiatives are generally approved by all authorities.
Portal/WANA Volodin's bill has a good chance of being approved
Accusations of disseminating “false information” about the army can now result in prison sentences of up to 15 years. It is used by authorities to suppress any form of dissent. According to the law, information about the offensive in Ukraine that does not come from official government sources can be classified as “false” and its disclosure can be subject to criminal prosecution.
Thousands of war opponents arrested
Russia declared criticism of the military illegal shortly after it began its attack on Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, thousands of opponents of the conflict have been arrested. Also on Thursday, a human rights activist was sentenced to three years in prison. A court in Winter's hometown of Cherepovets, about 500 kilometers north of Moscow, found that Gregory Winter “deceived an unlimited number of people and discredited the armed forces of the Russian Federation” with his Internet entries.
Prisons in Bashkortostan
There have recently been larger protests in support of an opposition figure in the Russian Republic of Bashkortostan. Several participants were sentenced to prison terms lasting several days. The defendants participated in “an unauthorized public event” in the small town of Baimak, the local court said on Friday. According to the information, the judges imposed prison sentences of between eight and 15 days.
APA/AFP/Anya Marchenkova There was a violent police operation against protesters in Baimak on Wednesday
Those now convicted were arrested on Wednesday during a demonstration in front of a court in Baimak. With their protest, they wanted to support local environmental activist Fail Alsynov, who harshly criticized Russia's attack on Ukraine and was sentenced to four years in prison for “incitement to hatred”. Alsynov opposes gold mining in the Ural region and advocates protecting the language of ethnic Bashkirs.
Thousands of people on the streets
According to the Russian human rights group OVD-Info, 6,000 people took to the streets and around twenty participants in the demonstration were arrested. According to information from the Russian judiciary the previous day, six other participants in a demonstration in support of Alsynov had also been sentenced to several days in prison.
According to media reports, around 2,000 people gathered again in Ufa on Friday, despite a heavy police presence. The police in the regional capital acted harshly and arrested several people, as reported by OVD-Info. Videos of peaceful men and women holding hands and singing circulated on social media. Shortly afterwards, photos emerged of people in prison vans.
Kremlin: “There are no mass protests”
Bashkortostan is located about 1,300 kilometers east of Moscow; the ethnic group that gives it its name are the Muslim Bashkirs. “There are no unrest or mass protests there,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. But in fact, about two months before the planned Russian presidential elections, this is one of the biggest protest movements in Russia since the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine.
In general, hundreds of thousands of Russians have already left their homeland. Many foreign celebrities criticize Putin and the costly war against Ukraine. As they cannot be punished by imprisonment in a camp, there has been a long-standing discussion in Russia about how the justice system can still prosecute these citizens.