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Russia will consider property confiscations for those convicted of discrediting the army

In Europe
January 20, 2024

Russia’s parliament will consider a law allowing for the confiscation of money, valuables, and other property from those deemed to spread “deliberately false information” about Moscow’s military actions, a senior lawmaker said Saturday.

Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the State Duma, wrote in a Telegram update that the measure would apply to those publicly inciting “extremist activities” or calling for the introduction of sanctions against Russia, as well as those “discrediting” the armed forces, a criminal offense under a law adopted as part of Moscow’s crackdown on dissent after it sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

“Everyone who tries to destroy Russia, betrays it, must suffer the deserved punishment and compensate for the damage inflicted on the country, at the cost of their property,” Volodin said. He added that under the law, those found guilty of “discrediting” the army also face being stripped of any honorary titles.

Volodin said the bill would be brought to the Duma, Russia’s lower parliamentary chamber, on Monday.

The existing law against “discrediting” the Russian military, which covers offenses such as “justifying terrorism” and spreading “fake news” about the armed forces, is regularly used to silence critics of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Multiple activists, bloggers and ordinary Russians have received long jail terms.

Russian state media reported last month that one of the country’s bestselling novelists, known under the pen name Boris Akunin, had been charged under the law and added to the Russian register of “extremists and terrorists.” Another popular writer, Dmitry Glukhovsky, was handed an eight-year jail term in absentia after a Moscow court found him guilty in August of deliberately spreading false information about Russia’s armed forces.

In November, a court in St. Petersburg jailed Sasha Skochilenko, an artist and musician, for seven years for swapping supermarket price tags with antiwar messages. The month before, Russian blogger Aleksandr Nozdrinov received a 8.5-year term for posting photos of destroyed buildings in Kyiv, along with a caption implying that Russian troops were responsible.

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