A group of Russian lawmakers has prepared amendments to draft legislation that would make it a felony to insult World War II veterans. One of the authors of the proposed censorship clause is State Duma Deputy Speaker Irina Yarovaya, the same politician who spearheaded controversial “counter-terrorism” legislation in 2016 that broadly expanded police powers and data collection.
The deputies are attaching their amendments to the second reading of a draft law on “historical memory” that lawmakers adopted in its first reading on February 10. Yarovaya told the news agency TASS that her new legislation would treat “humiliating or dishonoring the dignity” of WWII veterans, as well as “insulting the memory of the defenders of the Fatherland,” as speech that rehabilitates nazism, which is already a criminal act in Russia.
This legislative initiative comes just two days after a Moscow court fined imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny 850,000 rubles (about $11,380) for insulting WWII veteran Ignat Artemenko. Navalny’s supposed speech crime was saying that the people who appeared in a promotional video last year supporting the government’s constitutional reforms were “corrupt bootlickers” and “traitors.” (Artemenko briefly appeared in the video.)