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Russian government begins charging young activists for including minors in protests

Russia’s State Duma approved a bill in mid-December that created administrative penalties for those charged with involving minors in unsanctioned protests and rallies. Now, 18-year-old activist Ivan Luzin has become the first protester to be charged under the new law. Luzin volunteers for the national opposition politician Alexey Navalny in the city of Kaliningrad and is also a volunteer for Russia’s Libertarian Party.

Alexander Dobralsky, Luzin’s attorney, said officials have accused the teenager of organizing a picket on February 7 that included two underage women. Dobralsky said both women were also volunteers from Navalny’s local headquarters.

If he is found guilty of an administrative violation, Luzin could face a fine of 30,000 – 50,000 rubles ($460 – $760), community service, or 15 days in jail. Under the new law, repeat violators can face fines about five times that large or twice as many days in jail.