Duma approves Criminal Code amendments penalizing fake news about military operations, discrediting of Russian Armed Forces, calls for sanctions
MOSCOW. March 4 (Interfax) - The State Duma has endorsed a bill amending the Russian Criminal Code to penalize the dissemination of false information about the operations of Russian forces, the discrediting of the Russian Armed Forces, and calls for anti-Russian sanctions.
The vote was unanimous: there were 401 votes for, and no one voted against or abstained.
"The bill will be immediately directed to the Federation Council," State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said.
After the vote in the Federation Council, the bill will be put on the president's table, "and it is quite probable that its direct-action norms will take effect as early as tomorrow," he said.
The bill passed its second and third readings at the same time.
The bill augments the Russian Criminal Code with Article 207.3 on the public dissemination of knowingly false information about the operations of the Russian Armed Forces aimed to protect the interests of Russia and its population. The maximum penalty is ten to 15 years in prison (in the event of severe consequences). Courts may also impose fines of up to 1.5 million rubles, or order up to one year of community service, or up to three years of correctional labor.
In addition, the Criminal Code will have Article 280.3 "Public actions aimed at discrediting operations of the Russian Armed Forces that protect the interests of Russia and its citizens and maintain world peace and security." The penalty will range from a fine of 100,000 to 300,000 rubles to five years of imprisonment. The maximum penalty will apply to those whose public actions against Russian troops do harm to human lives and health, damage property, cause mass unrest and disturb the operation of civilian infrastructure, including communication systems and transport.
There will also be Article 284.2 "Calls for restrictive measures against Russia, Russian citizens or Russian legal entities." Calls on foreign states or international organizations for imposing sanctions on Russian citizens will be penalized with a fine of up to 500,000 rubles, up to three years of correctional labor, up to six months of arrest, or up to three years of imprisonment and a fine of up to 200,000 rubles.
The criminal penalties envisaged by Articles 280.3 and 284.2 of the Criminal Code will apply only after a person is held administratively liable on the same counts, the amendments said.
Related amendments to the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses followed to enact administrative responsibility for first offenders for discrediting the operations of the Russian Armed Forces and calls for sanctions.
Public actions aimed at discrediting operations of the Russian Armed Forces that protect the interests of Russia will be penalized with a fine of 30,000 to 50,000 rubles for individuals, from 100,000 to 200,000 rubles for officials, and from 300,000 to 500,000 rubles for legal entities. Whenever such actions are accompanied with calls for unsanctioned demonstrations and pose a threat of massive violations of the public peace, the fine will range from 50,000 to 100,000 rubles for individuals, from 200,000 to 300,000 rubles for officials, and from 500,000 to 1 million rubles for legal entities.
Calls for sanctions will be penalized with a fine of 30,000 to 50,000 rubles for individuals, from 100,000 to 200,000 rubles for officials, and from 300,000 to 500,000 rubles for legal entities.