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RF Makes Punishment for Crimea De-Occupation Appeals Tougher

The Federation Council approved amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation aimed at toughening punishments for calls to violate the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation (Article 280.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and actions aimed at alienating part of the territory of the Russian Federation (Article 280.2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), as the official website of the RF State Duma informs. Today, on December 8, the President of the Russian Federation signed laws that codified this.

Adopting these changes to the Russian legislation is primarily aimed at persecuting for the calls to de-occupy Crimea and attempts to return it under the governance of Ukraine.

According to the new amendments, a person who has appealed in public to take actions aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation may face criminal persecution, if these actions occurred within a year after his/her having been held administratively liable for the same action.

If such an appeal has been voiced for the first time, then people will be fined from RUR30,000 to 60,000, officials – from RUR 60,000 to 100,000, and legal entities – from RUR200,000 to 300,000.

For calls on the Internet, the fine will rise to RUR70,000 – 100,000 physical persons, RUR100,000 – 200,000 – for officials and from RUR300,000 to 500,000 – for companies and other legal entities.

The current Russian Criminal Code also states the liability for such calls. But now the fine will increase to RUR200,000 – 400,000 rubles, compared to the previous sanction – from RUR100,000 to 300,000.

If any actions follow the calls to return Crimea to Ukraine, the sanction may be a six to ten years’ sentence.

Once the laws have been signed by Putin, and published officially, new provisions will be enacted.

Earlier, in the late July 2020, Putin signed a law that equates the alienation of territories with extremism. This was the first law adopted based on the amended Russian Constitution.

The adopted amendments to the legislation of the Russian Federation aimed at toughening the punishment for calls to violate the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation may lead to a new round of persecution of pro-Ukrainian Crimeans by the Russian security forces.

According to Ms. Olha Skrypnyk, Head of the Crimean Human Rights Group board, the toughening of punishment for statements about the de-occupation of Crimea confirms the fact that there are many Crimeans on the peninsula who disagree with the Russian occupation and support the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“In addition, the Russian authorities intend to intensify the persecution of people for mouthing, in fact, the norms of international documents, for example, resolutions of the UN General Assembly, that the Russian Federation is also a member of,” the human rights activist noted.

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