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Russian lawmakers could wait another year before returning to legislation that would criminalize observing or facilitating foreign sanctions


Russian lawmakers won’t vote on the second reading of legislation against observing or facilitating foreign sanctions until at least July 2019, according to the newspaper Kommersant. On July 10, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said the bill could come up for consideration in late July. Apparently he was talking about next year.

The law would make it illegal to refuse cooperation with Russian entities because of sanctions imposed by another country. Such actions could result in fines as high as 600,000 rubles ($9,655) or up to four years in prison. People who “provide recommendations” or “supply information” “that has led or could lead” to new anti-Russian sanctions would face fines as high as 500,000 rubles ($8,045) or up to three years in prison with a 200,000-ruble ($3,220) fine. The State Duma adopted a first reading of this legislation on May 15, 2018, and deputies planned to vote on a second reading on May 17, but it was postponed, in order to conduct “additional consultations with business and expert communities.”

Russian business groups have warned that foreign countries could target Russian business owners with “secondary sanctions” for obeying the government’s proposed ban on observing Western sanctions, which would limit their access to global markets and ultimately hurt the Russian economy. Organizations have also criticized the criminalization of sharing information that could facilitate new foreign sanctions, arguing that this could apply to business people who disclose information about the activities of their business partners.