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Russian legislators hope to multiply fines for posting ‘fake news’ and disrespecting the government

As two State Duma bills that would penalize spreading “fake news” or disrespecting authorities online approach their second reading, some deputies are asking for the proposals’ fines to be increased by several times. TASS reported on the proposed increases and circulated a copy of the amendments supported by a group of Duma deputies.

The original bills proposed a fine of 3,000 – 5,000 rubles ($46 - $76) for ordinary citizens and 30,000 – 50,000 rubles ($460 – $760) for public figures who share “unreliable” stories online or show disrespect on the Internet for state symbols or government figures. Deputies are now hoping for fines of 30,000 – 100,000 rubles ($460 – $1,522) for private citizens who violate the bills and 60,000 – 200,000 rubles ($913 – $3,043) for public figures.

At the same time, the proposed amendments include decreased fines for those who hold legal office. Those penalties, which the bills previously set at 400,000 to one million rubles ($6,088 – $15,219), might be lowered to 200,000 – 500,000 rubles ($3,043 – $7,609) with exceptions for spreading information that leads to “mass social disorder” or other disruptions in public life. Both the bill regarding “unreliable” information and the ban on expressing overt disrespect toward the Russian government online are expected to pass in some form.