RUSSIALINK: “Putin signs law partially decriminalizing Article 282 of Russian Criminal Code on extremism” – Interfax

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

MOSCOW. Dec 28 (Interfax) – President Vladimir Putin has signed the law adjusting Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code.

The law passed in the State Duma on December 19 and approved by the Federation Council on December 21 was published on the official Internet portal of legal information on Thursday.

The law initiated by the Russian president decriminalizes first-time offenses defined by Part 1, Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code.

Previously, the offense was punishable with a fine of 300,000 rubles or a prison term of up to five years for “actions aimed at the incitement of hatred or enmity, or the abasement of the dignity of a person or a group of persons on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, origin, attitude to religion, or affiliation with any social group, in public or with the use of mass media, including the Internet.”

The law exempts first-time offenses, which do not pose a serious threat to the fundamentals of the constitutional system and national security, from criminal liability.

Now criminal penalties would apply only to citizens who have faced administrative charges on the same grounds, including the sharing of social media posts, in the preceding year.

Putin also signed the law adjusting the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses consistent with the amendments that passed in the State Duma on December 19 and were approved by the Federation Council on December 21.

The amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses and Article 282 of the Criminal Code were prepared simultaneously.

The amendments add a new article to the Code of Administrative Offenses regarding the incitement of hatred or enmity, or the abasement of the dignity of a person or a group of persons and establish the following penalties: a fine of 10,000 to 20,000 rubles, or compulsory works of up to 100 hours, or an administrative arrest of up to 15 days for persons and a fine of 250,000 to 500,000 rubles for legal entities.

The administrative liability will apply to first-time offenders in case the offense does not fall under Part 2 Article 282 of the Criminal Code (actions involving violence or a threat to use violence, abuse of office, or an organized group).

The amendments would have retroactive force: after the bill takes effect, earlier sentences will be annulled and ongoing proceedings will stop.

A yearlong prescription period is established for such offenses.