A group of Russian MPs has proposed a bill that would impose a sentence of five years behind bars for those found guilty of insulting war heroes. The punishment would also extend to those who desecrate the memory of dead veterans.
The draft legislation comes after Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was handed an 850,000 ruble fine ($11,500) for libeling a 94-year-old former Red Army soldier last summer by calling him a “corrupt lackey” and a “traitor” in a tweet.
The new legislation, written by MPs Alexander Khinshtein and Sergey Boyarsky, would make insulting veterans a separate charge, rather than coming under the defamation laws Navalny was tried for. Co-authors on the bill include MPs Irina Yarovaya and Vladimir Shamanov, all from the ruling United Russia party.
“We responded with an amendment that establishes liability of up to five years in prison and up to 5 million rubles ($70,000) in fines for actions that would desecrate the memory of or insult veterans,” Yarovaya said while speaking on Wednesday to First Channel.
The proposed new law would amend the existing 2014 Law Against Rehabilitation of Nazism. She also revealed that the bill has already been supported by every single faction in parliament.
The suggested legislation is significantly more stringent than that proposed last week by Anton Orlov, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Politics, who called for a 100,000 ruble fine ($1,400) and a one-year imprisonment.
When asked about the proposition, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov revealed that he had not yet read the text.
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