Russia Clampdown: New laws, new restrictions
Within weeks of President Putin's inauguration May 7, 2012, a flurry of legislative activity was unleashed that led to the adoption of a new set of restrictive laws governing NGOs, imposed new penalties and restrictions regarding protests and broadened the definition and penalties for “treason.”
  • 2012
    “The Protest Law” (No. 65-FZ)
    Submitted May 10, 2012
    Signed by Putin June 8, 2012
    • Increased fines for violating rules for holding public events from 5,000 rubles (approx. $165) to 300,000 rubles (approx. $30,000)
    • Imposes various restrictions on locations for public protests, and bans individuals with multiple administrative convictions related to organizing public events from organizing public events
  • 2012
    Foreign Agents Law (Law No. 121-FZ)
    Submitted June 29, 2012
    Signed by Putin July 20, 2012
    • Requires organizations that receive foreign funding and engage in “political activities” to register as “foreign agents”
    • Penalty for failure to register: Suspension of activities; freezing of assets for up to 6 months; fines of up to 300,000 rubles (approx. US$9,700) for individuals and up to 500,000 rubles (approx. $16,280) for organizations
  • 2012
    Internet Content Restrictions (No. 139-FZ)
    Submitted June 7, 2012
    Signed by Putin July 28, 2012
    • Calls for the creation of a register of prohibited websites containing information “the distribution of which is prohibited in the Russian Federation,” which will then be blocked by Internet service providers (ISPs)
    • Allows several government agencies to submit websites for the registry without a court order
    • Allows individuals to submit a complaint about online content to Roskomnadzor, the Russian Federal Surveillance Service for Mass Media and Communications through its website
    • Gives content-hosting providers 24 hours to notify the website owner to remove the prohibited content; if the content is not removed within another 24 hours, Roskomnadzor restricts access to the website
  • 2012
    Re-Introduction of Criminal Libel (No. 141-FZ)
    Submitted July 6, 2012
    Signed by Putin July 28, 2012
    • Libelous public statements or remarks reproduced by media outlets will be punished by a fine of up to 2 million rubles (just over $61,000); if an individual is libeled by being falsely accused of a grave crime, the penalty is a fine of up to 5 million rubles (just over $153,000)
    • Includes a special article “on libel against judges, jurors, prosecutors, and law enforcement officials,” punishable by a fine of up to 2 million rubles
  • 2012
    Treason Law (Law FZ-190)
    Submitted September 20, 2012
    Signed by Putin November 12, 2012
    • Broadened the definition of treason to include “consultative or other assistance to a foreign state, an international or foreign organization, or their representatives in activities against the security of the Russian Federation”
    • Penalty: Fine of up to 500,000 rubles (approx. $16,280) and a prison term of up to 20 years
  • 2012
    “Dima Yakovlev” Law (No. 272-FZ)
    Submitted December 10, 2012
    Signed by Putin December 28, 2012
    • Bans the adoption of Russian children by US citizens
    • Allows for the suspension of nongovernmental organizations that engage in “political” activities and receive funding from the US, and the suspension of any nongovernmental organization that “threatens” Russia's interests
    • Prohibits Russian citizens who hold US passports from managing or being members of non-commercial organizations that conduct political activities on Russia's territory
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