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Mad and Bad: A Look Back during Russia’s Most Notorious Parliament

In the end, the State Duma went out with a bang, flitting a dozen tough amendments on its final day. They embody new remoteness restrictions, punishment for extremism-related offenses and lowering the minimum age of criminal charge to 14 years for a far-reaching operation of crimes. This legislation, the harshest seen in years, was cursed by the antithesis and media as “draconian.”

And so, the sixth crowd of the State Duma will go down in history as Russia’s many controversial. Elected in 2011 in the shade of disputed elections and mass protests, the parliamentarians went on to pass some of the many odious laws in post-Soviet history.

Here is a summary of some of its the Duma’s many barbarous moments.


A major crackdown followed the mass protests of winter 2011-12, when tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Moscow to protest doubtful elections. Duma lawmakers initial changed to raise the stakes for protest. In 2012, they increasing fines tenfold, introduced village use as a new form of punishment and outlined some-more restrictions and tougher penalties for unsanctioned rallies.

Two years later, in 2014, the legislation was tightened further, when repeat violations of this new law became a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($15,500). Within a year, the first jail term — 3 years — was handed out.

Tackling the Enemy Without

Once finished with protesters, Duma deputies changed on to another enemy — the West.

In 2012 the so-called “foreign agents” law was passed, defining any NGO that receives unfamiliar appropriation and engages in loosely tangible “political activity” as a “foreign agent.” Such NGOs became theme to additional levels of government inspection and bureaucracy. Many distinguished NGOs close down as a result of the affair, reluctant to work underneath a label with clever espionage connotations. Others, carrying given adult on foreign funding, went bankrupt. More than 80 NGOs are now listed as “foreign agents,” buried low underneath bureaucracy.

Russian media found itself in the cranky fire, too. In 2014, unfamiliar nationals were criminialized from founding media outlets in Russia and foreign tenure singular to 20 percent. This incited the media marketplace upside down. At the time, many internal vital edition houses were owned by international companies, like Finland’s Sanoma or Germany’s Axel Springer. Owners were done to sell their resources to Russian citizens, mostly at a loss.

But the biggest punch came with the so-called “Dima Yakovlev law” in 2013. This new law taboo U.S. nationals from adopting Russian children. While dark behind child gratification arguments, the law was in face a reaction to the U.S. Magnitsky Act that subjected certain Russian officials to travel bans and asset freezes.

Finally, management of international courts was heavily undermined by the Duma in 2015. It upheld a bill lenient Russia’s Constitutional Court to ignore the rulings of international courts when rulings don’t approve with the Constitution. So far, nothing of the high-profile rulings of international courts have been overturned, though there are concerns that the international courts — mostly noticed by Russians as a last resort — have been rendered powerless.

Turning Russia Straight

Much of the Duma’s activity was clinging to a demoniac quarrel for so-called “traditional values.” A traditional heterosexual family and the Orthodox church were both hold adult as pillars of Russian society.

In 2013, the Duma criminialized “propaganda of non-traditional passionate relations,” effectively outlawing open demonstrations of LGBT love and much campaigning. That same year, lawmakers criminialized adoption of Russian children for same-sex couples both in Russia and abroad. Their logic was in order not to see children “psychologically and psychiatrically traumatized.”

The Duma was also endangered about safeguarding another amicable organisation from trauma. On the heels of the high-profile Pussy Riot hearing in 2012, a new offense was invented for “offending the feelings of religious believers.” This crime could be punished by a vast excellent or seizure for up to one year. As knowledge has shown, a comment in a amicable network is adequate to trigger charge underneath this new law.

Talk Is No Longer Cheap

The Internet came underneath special courtesy in 2014. At the start of the year, the State Duma gave new rights to media and Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor, permitting it to extrajudicially retard websites containing calls for “mass riots” or “extremist activities.” It legally alike bloggers with media outlets, and burdened them with the same liabilities media outlets have. It also forced hunt engines to comply with people’s right “to be forgotten” — or, technically speaking, final to delete information about them that is not loyal or no longer of current interest.

Scrutiny was paid to weeding out “extremists” and “terrorists” online. There were harsher punishments for “calls to extremist and separatist activities,” as good as “inciting loathing and hostility” on the Internet. A person charged with possibly of the dual could have faced possibly village use or adult to five years in prison. Legislation valid renouned as dozens were convicted underneath such charges.

And in late June, lawmakers lifted the bar higher, flitting new amendments for longer jail terms for inciting or justifying terrorism online. The amendments also need parcels to be checked for illegal items, and increase the number of crimes for which children aged 14-17 can be charged.

Communications companies will also see a crackdown, with the new laws requiring them to monitor the content of phone calls and messages and to keep them on file for six months. All messaging apps that use encryption will also be compulsory to add additional formula permitting entrance to the Russian confidence services.

Those That Didn’t Make the Cut

As eager as the State Duma was at banning things, some restricting bills never done it to the finish line.

For example, they attempted to ban bad news on television: Oleg Mikheyev from A Just Russia Party introduced a bill in 2012 surveying jail terms for journalists airing “negative” news stories. According to Mikheyev, 70 percent of television atmosphere time should be clinging to “positive” stories.

Then there was a bill banning use of loanwords that have Russian equivalents in the media, introduced in 2014 by the LDPR party. Its authors due a fine on anyone regulating difference imagining from the English denunciation instead of Russian equivalents.

But maybe the award for the many vast law should be awarded to the now barbarous lawmakers Yelena Mizulina and Olga Batalina for their devise to impose taxes on divorced or childless families.

Elections for the new Duma are scheduled for Sept. 18.  

Article source: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/article/573846.html