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Russian lawmakers propose legislation strengthening punishments for involvement in ‘undesirable organizations’

Russian lawmakers have submitted a bill to parliament on strengthening criminal penalties for leading or being involved in a foreign NGO that’s included in Russia’s list of “undesirable organizations.”

The authors of the bill proposed that individuals linked to “undesirable” groups should face criminal liability following their first administrative offense, whereas the leaders of such organizations would face criminal prosecution automatically. The current version of Russian Criminal Code article 284.1 stipulates that a person can face criminal liability only after committing two administrative offenses in a one-year period. 

The draft law outlines punishments ranging from one to four years in prison for involvement in an “undesirable organization,” and prison terms ranging from two to six years for leading such a group. The Russian Criminal Code currently outlines prison terms between two and six years for both the leaders and members of “undesirable organizations.”

As noted by MBX Media, the amendments also seek to remove the wording about working for an “undesirable” group “on the territory of the Russian Federation” from article 284.1, meaning that people working for these organizations from abroad could also face criminal prosecution.

This same group of lawmakers have put forward a separate draft law on banning Russian citizens and legal entities from being involved in the work of “undesirable organizations” around the world. In addition, they’ve suggested applying the “undesirable organization” label to any foreign or international NGOs that have acted as intermediaries for monetary transactions with organizations already recognized as “undesirable” in Russia. 

On May 4, the same group of Russian lawmakers put forward another bill banning anyone linked to an outlawed “extremist organization” from running in State Duma elections. Alexey Navalny’s associates said that this ban threatens more than 200,000 people in Russia who have made donations to the opposition politician’s organizations. 

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