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2 Feb, 2021 11:51

Moscow to consider introduction of prison terms for Russian citizens who call for West to place sanctions on their compatriots

Moscow to consider introduction of prison terms for Russian citizens who call for West to place sanctions on their compatriots

Russia's top parliamentarian has submitted a proposal to criminalize calling for sanctions against Russians. The move comes after opposition figure Alexey Navalny published a list of people he wants to see targeted by the West.

“There should be a very tough punishment for such actions,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, a member of the ruling pro-Vladimir Putin United Russia party.

The bill, written by a group of authors, including Volodin himself, would make such calls illegal, leading to a fine of up to 500,000 rubles ($6,585) or imprisonment up to three years.

On January 30, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), established by Navalny in 2011 and registered in Russia as a foreign agent, asked newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden to sanction 35 different Russian citizens, including businessman Roman Abramovich, Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko, and National Guard chief Victor Zolotov.

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Two weeks prior, FBK boss Vladimir Ashurkov had published a list of eight men he and Navalny agreed should be considered priorities for Western measures. Ashurkov has since been implicated in a video published by the Federal Security Service (FSB), in which he appeared to request money from a British diplomat for help in targeting Russian institutions.

“When Alexey gave me his list, it had nothing to do with him or his return,” Ashurkov wrote on Facebook. “He expected me to bring the list to the attention of Western governments and work slowly towards a more rational and effective way of weakening the corrupt Putin regime and encouraging better behavior.”

“However, with Alexey's arrest and the regime threatening to imprison him for years, I have decided that the best use of Alexey's list at this time is to make it public.”

On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed the Anti-Corruption Foundation, claiming that the call for sanctions proves that the organization “deserves the status of a foreign agent.”

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Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov also criticized the FBK, asking “can you imagine an American organization appealing to Vladimir Putin with a request to impose sanctions on the US president?”

On January 21, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the EU to strengthen sanctions against Moscow, including ending work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

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