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Russia's criminalization of promoting foreign sanctions will hit the anti-Kremlin opposition


Andrey Isayev, the first deputy head of United Russia’s State Duma faction, confirmed on Wednesday that the parliament’s draft legislation to criminalize the observance or promotion of foreign sanctions will apply to opposition politicians who lobby Western governments to target Russian citizens and their businesses.

“Of the people whom I know who do this, there’s Vladimir Kara-Murza, Jr., who takes credit for introducing ‘Magnitsky acts’ in eight countries and will keep lobbying for more. This amounts to a full confession, if it [the draft legislation] is adopted,” Isayev told the news agency Interfax.

Lawmakers are close to voting on a bill that would impose criminal penalties on anybody who observes or even promotes Western sanctions. The legislation has won the endorsement of the speakers of both houses of parliament, the State Duma’s first deputy speakers, the heads of all political parties with seats in the Duma, the federal government, and Russia’s Supreme Court. If adopted, the law would criminalize a common form of activism among Russia’s democratic opposition.