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Most Russians support sanctions against parents who allow kids to join sects

Most Russians support sanctions against parents who allow kids to join sects
Almost four-fifths of Russians have told researchers they support a proposal to deprive citizens of parental rights if they allow their children to join destructive sects or extremist groups.

According to a poll conducted by state-run VTSIOM in late November, 79 percent of Russians currently support the idea, while 16 percent of respondents said they oppose it. Most of the opponents said that in their view, however bad parents are it is still better for children to stay with the family than be sent to an orphanage.

When researchers asked for general opinions on the increase of the state’s role in family affairs, 45 percent said they considered it better for children’s interests. Some 43 percent said any further increase in state interference in family affairs would be excessive. Overall, 45 percent agreed that greater effort on the part of the state would mean greater protection of children’s rights.

Still, the majority of respondents – 56 percent – said that the government needed to do more to protect children’s rights, even if this means interference in family affairs. However, 70 percent could not name any particular field that requires additional attention by the state. Eight percent told researchers that it was necessary to restrict children’s access to computer games and 5 percent said that the government had to step up control over problem families.

The poll was conducted soon after in mid-November this year Russian Supreme Court supported a legislative recommendation allowing the deprivation of parental rights to citizens who allow their kids to join destructive sects, terrorist groups or other extremist organizations.

The most recent update to Russian anti-terrorist laws, introduced in mid-2016, lowered the age threshold of criminal responsibility for terrorist crimes such as attacks and hostage-taking from 16 to 14 years. The law also provides for up to 10 years in prison for anyone engaging in international terrorism, and up to 15 years behind bars for anyone found guilty of financing terrorist groups. Attracting new recruits to a terrorist organization was also criminalized, and is punishable by prison terms of between five and 10 years.