Russian Senate approves tougher penalties for discrediting Russian fighters in Ukraine

Archive – Ukrainian soldiers in the town of Lisichansk, located in the vicinity of Severodonetsk. – Rick Mave / Zuma Press / ContactoPhoto

Russia’s Federal Council, the Senate, on Wednesday approved the law allowing for tougher prison sentences for »discrediting» servicemen and volunteers fighting alongside the Russian Armed Forces in the framework of the invasion of Ukraine.

Thus, with the vote in favor of 162 senators, the measure has received the final approval of the two chambers of the Russian Parliament and will pass to the President, Vladimir Putin, for ratification. Only one senator opposed the measure: Liudmila Narusova.

The Criminal Code in force until now provided for criminal liability for actions carried out in public and aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces abroad. Now, this measure covers any action that seeks to »discredit in general» the participants of »any Russian special military operation», including volunteer units, organizations and individuals supporting the tasks performed by the Russian forces.

The amendments also include measures on the indirect responsibility for »discrediting» the Army, whereby a violation of this regulation can lead to imprisonment of up to five years and, in case the acts in question result in »mass protests, damage to infrastructure or accidental deaths,» up to seven years in prison, according to information from the Russian Parliament itself.

In this regard, the law states that deliberately spreading false information about participants in the Russian invasion of Ukraine »regardless of their rank» will be punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

The regulation also introduces criminal liability in case of breaking into relevant state infrastructure. Violation of this norm includes fines of up to 500,000 rubles (about 6,100 euros) and penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment or house arrest.