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Russian MP Drafting Law to Defend Putin’s Honor

Another Russian law suppressing free speech.

How widely might these laws be applied?

From the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

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Published: Wednesday, 16 March 2016 18:18

A member of the Russian Parliament is preparing a draft law that would make insulting President Vladimir Putin a criminal offence carrying up to a six year jail sentence, Russia Today (RT) said.

President Vladimir PutinRoman Khudyakov MP, a representative of nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, told Izvestia he realised a special law protecting the president’s reputation was needed after watching YouTube videos containing insults against the Russian leader.

The draft law will be modelled on the 1990 federal law “On the protection of the honor and dignity of the president of the USSR”, Khudyakov said.  He added that it will punish insults aimed at the presidency as an institution, rather than any particular individual.

Insults against state officials in Russia, including the president, are currently punishable by up to one year of “corrective labor” – a procedure which sees part of the convict’s income confiscated by the state, RT said.

Similar laws also exist in former Soviet states including Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, according to RT.  In Turkey, nearly 1,900 cases have been opened against people accused of insulting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he came to office in 2014, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Such laws are often seen as a way to limit dissent, including from independent journalists.

President Putin’s current popularity ratings are exceptionally high based on recent polls conducted by government-owned research center, VTSIOM, RT said.