Questioning status of Russian territory (Crimea, for example) could now be punished with jail time, according to proposed law
The approved legislation follows hot on the heels of the recently signed constitutional amendments, which made it illegal for the country to give any Russian land away to another nation.
Some Western experts have speculated that the change to the constitution was aimed at protecting Crimea, re-absorbed by Russia following a referendum in 2014, and the Kuril Islands, long-claimed by both Moscow and Tokyo.
The bill, which on Wednesday passed its third and final reading in the country’s lower house of parliament, means that any “calls aimed at violating territorial integrity” could be punished with fines. A repeat of the offence could result in up to four years in prison. Amendments to the Criminal Code are also planned, which would foresee a punishment of up to 10 years behind bars for actions aimed at violating the country’s territorial integrity.
“This is the first bill to be prepared following the amendments to the Constitution,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, the Chairman of the State Duma. “[People] must understand that this crime is very severely punished… All calls to cut off a region, or part of a region, are unacceptable and must be strongly thwarted.”
The legislation must now be approved by the country’s upper house of parliament - the Federation Council - and then be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.Also on rt.com After approval of constitutional changes, Russian lawmakers seek to ban gay marriage & adoption of children by LGBT couples
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