Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws punishing publicly discrediting members of volunteer groups and spreading fake news about them. According to RBC, the order was published on the portal of legal information.
Amendments were made to the Code of Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code. Punishment under the article about Part 1 of Art. 207.3 (dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of armed forces in order to protect the interests of the country) and Part 1 of Art. 280.3 of the Criminal Code (discrediting the armed forces and discrediting the execution by Russian state bodies of their powers abroad) will be up to five years.
Public distribution of fakes, which entailed grave consequences (Article 270.3 of the Criminal Code), provides for punishment from 10 to 15 years in prison.
The Duma approved the bill on March 14, the Federation Council on March 15. The only one who voted against the initiative was Senator Lyudmila Narusova. She stated at the meeting that the document does not distinguish between the concepts of “discredit” and “criticism” and asked a question about the essence of “volunteer formations” specified in the law. “And we understand that this is a veiled name for PMCs, by the way, banned in Russia,” Narusova said.
The senator reminded the speaker of the Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, how she was surprised during a meeting in April 2022 that “we don’t even produce nails in a country that produces so much metal”, they are imported from abroad. She then called this fact “a kind of discovery.” Narusova suggested that these words could be considered as discrediting the industry. In response, Matvienko joked that the senator was “bringing her under the article.”
Amendments to the Duma were submitted for consideration by the speaker of the lower house of parliament Vyacheslav Volodin, earlier with a request to protect the fighters from “discredit” he was approached by the founder of PMC “Wagner” Yevgeny Prigozhin.
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