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Police develop plan for anti-terror certification of public places

Police develop plan for anti-terror certification of public places
The Interior Ministry is proposing that everywhere used for meetings or rallies as well as other mass gatherings of people must be security assessed and receive what it is calling "anti-terror passports".

The various public places should be checked “with consideration of their state, political and social importance,” according to the proposal that has been posted on the official portal for discussion of legislative initiatives.

The main factor will be the proximity to government offices and other political institutions, foreign embassies and religious sites. Also the maximum capacity will be taken into account. In general, the bill provides for four categories of places - the highest means that the place is of federal importance and can hold over 100 people or be of regional importance and hold over 200 people. The lowest security category is reserved for places of municipal importance holding up to 50 people.

Once the bill is passed the anti-terrorist security passports will become an obligatory requirement for such businesses as restaurants, theaters, clubs, arcades and the like. Also, the owners of public institutions will be made responsible for violating the security rules for every category. Simple violations discovered during an inspection will only carry a fine, but if a terrorist attack at the site causes human casualties the owners can be made criminally responsible.

If the bill is passed into law all public places would be examined by special joint commissions of the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service, the FSB. The results of the inspections must be recorded in special passports of anti-terrorist security issued for every site or place.

The police experts who prepared the draft say that all public places in Russia must be equipped with video monitoring systems, loudspeakers, lighting and managed evacuation routes. City authorities will have to ban car parking in the direct vicinity of such sites. They will be equipped with permanent police posts and in some cases regularly patrolled.

Last year Russian legislators passed a set of bills aimed at liberalization of political life in the country. These included introducing dedicated places where rallies, political debates s and other mass events that can be held without receiving a license from municipal authorities – dubbed “Hyde Parks” by the Russian mass media.

The largest of these places are located in Moscow’s Gorky Park and Sokolniki Park -each can host up to 2000 people.