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Russia advances bill to confiscate assets of those who ‘discredit’ the military

  • The upper house of Russia’s parliament has unanimously endorsed a bill allowing confiscation of assets from those spreading deliberately false information about the military.
  • The lower house also quickly approved the bill, and it is expected to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
  • Existing laws targeting military discrediting have been used to silence Putin’s critics, resulting in long prison terms for activists and bloggers.

After a brief discussion, the upper house of Russia’s parliament on Wednesday unanimously endorsed a bill that would allow authorities to confiscate money, valuables and other assets from people convicted of spreading “deliberately false information” about the country’s military.

The bill, which was approved equally quickly by the lower house last week, is expected to receive Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signature and become law soon.

The lower house speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, has said the measure would strengthen the punishment for the “traitors who sling mud at our country and our troops” and “strip those scoundrels of honorary titles, confiscate their assets, money and other valuables.”

RUSSIA’S LOWER HOUSE ADVANCES BILL TO CONFISCATE ASSETS OF THOSE WHO ‘DISCREDIT’ THE MILITARY

Russian officials have used the existing law against “discrediting” the military that covers offenses such as “justifying terrorism” and spreading “fake news” about the armed forces to silence Putin’s critics. Multiple activists, bloggers and ordinary Russians have received long prison terms.

Russia lawmakers

Lawmakers of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation listen to the national anthem prior to a session in Moscow, Russia, on Feb. 7, 2024. The upper house of Russia’s parliament has endorsed a bill that would allow authorities to confiscate money, valuables and other assets from people convicted of spreading “deliberately false information” about the country’s military. (Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation via AP)

The new confiscation law would apply to people who are convicted of publicly inciting “extremist activities” and calling for actions that would hurt the security of the state or “discrediting” the armed forces. Discrediting the Russian military became a criminal offense under a law adopted as part of a sweeping government crackdown on dissent after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022.

RUSSIAN TROOPS COULD DISAPPEAR AS KREMLIN TOUTS ‘INVISIBILITY CLOAK’

The bill does not include real estate among the assets subject to seizure. Draconian Soviet-era legislation authorized the seizure of housing for a variety of criminal offenses.

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