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Russian lawmakers approve first reading of bill banning people linked to ‘extremist organizations’ from running for parliament

The State Duma has approved the first reading of a bill banning people who were “involved in the activities” of outlawed extremist or terrorist organizations from being elected to the Russian parliament.

According to the draft law, former “leaders” of terrorist or extremist groups will be banned from running for parliament for a five-year period after said organization is outlawed officially. For an organization’s regular employees, as well as “other persons involved in its activities,” the ban on being elected to parliament will last for three years.

What’s more, anyone who led an outlawed organization in the three years before it was blacklisted could be deprived of the right to be elected to the State Duma. Anyone who supported or worked for an outlawed organization one year before the ban could face the same penalty. In other words, the legislation is meant to have retroactive effect.

The authors of the bill define “other persons involved” as anyone who provided outlawed groups with funding or property, as well as anyone who offered consultative, organizational, and methodological assistance, or helped them in any other way.

Commenting on this bill, Alexey Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, wrote that it threatens anyone who worked for Navalny’s teams or made donations to organizations associated with the opposition politician.

In mid-April, prosecutors in Moscow filed a lawsuit asking the city to add three organizations affiliated with Navalny to Russia’s list of illegal extremist groups: the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), the Citizens’ Rights Protection Foundation, and his network of regional campaign offices. The court hearing on the claim is scheduled for June 9. 

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