The deputies approved the amendments on punishment for actions “against the interests of Russia.” The bill recognizes “going over to the side of the enemy” as treason, toughens punishment for mercenaries and introduces a new article for cooperation with special services
The deputies voted in the first reading for amendments to several articles of the Criminal Code at once “in order to protection of the national interests of the Russian Federation. Such an initiative was made by deputies Vasily Piskarev, Ernest Valeev, Andrey Kartapolov, Andrey Krasov and Anatoly Vyborny (United Russia). 341 deputies voted for, two people— against, 44 abstained.
The draft provides for imprisonment for up to 20 years for the participation of a citizen of the Russian Federation in an armed conflict “for purposes contrary to the interests of the Russian Federation.” (changes to Article 208 of the Criminal Code). At the same time, “going over to the side of the enemy” in conditions of armed conflict will be equated with treason (amendment to Article 275 of the Criminal Code).
The punishment under the article “Mercenarism” is also significantly toughened. (Article 359 of the Criminal Code)— the punishment for the mercenaries themselves will be from seven to 15 years in prison, and for their recruitment— from 12 to 18 years old. Previously, the law provided for imprisonment for mercenaries from three to seven years.
The bill also introduces changes to the regulation of espionage (Article 276 of the Criminal Code). Now espionage will fall under the transfer, collection, abduction or possession “for the purpose of transfer to the enemy” information that “may be used against the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”; in armed conflict.
According to the initiative, a new article 275.1 will also appear in the Criminal Code, which will introduce liability for “confidential cooperation” with foreign intelligence services in order to help them in their work, “knowingly directed against security”; Russia. Another new article of the Criminal Code— Art. 280.4. It will establish liability for “public calls for activities against security” Russia.
From Art. 284.1 (carrying out the activities of an undesirable organization) will remove the words “on the territory of the Russian Federation”, which will allow Russians to be punished, for example, for participating in the activities of such organizations abroad.
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The government, in its conclusion, made a number of comments on the bill— in particular, the presence of “evaluative and formally undefined terms”: “adversary”, “activities directed against the security of the Russian Federation”. This “does not meet the constitutional requirements of clarity, certainty and unambiguity of legal norms,” the recall states.
According to the authors of the bill, these measures will more effectively identify, prevent and suppress criminal activities that are carried out with the aim of " undermining the foundations of the constitutional order, the defense capability of the country and the security of the state».
Introducing the bill, one of its authors, United Russia Ernest Valeev, noted that “responsibility for treason, betrayal and espionage has always been severe.” He added that responsibility for going over to the side of the enemy was removed from the Criminal Code in 1997, and now it is proposed to “restore” it.
Deputy from “EP” Irina Pankina repeated the government's arguments about a “more specific conceptual apparatus” amendments and noted that it would be finalized by the second reading.
At the request of the deputy from the “New People” Ksenia Goryacheva to explain how the expression of one’s opinion on the actions of the state will differ from public calls for activities against the security of the Russian Federation, Ernest Valeev emphasized: “If your opinion is expressed in the form of public calls not to comply with the decision of the authorities to ensure the security of the state, then in your actions will be signs of a crime».
If the law is adopted, many non-state institutions will be “just in case” refuse any cooperation due to the risk of falling under “confidential cooperation”; with foreign intelligence services and organizations, the chairman of the Moscow collegium “Knyazev and partners” told RBC Andrey Knyazev. «The main word in the article— “knowingly”: when a person is cooperating specifically for the purpose of conveying information. If he transmits due to a misunderstanding, stupidity, then logically he should not be responsible for this, — said the lawyer, stating that practice may differ.
Knyazev added that the new amendments to the Criminal Code do not specify what kind of security (military, economic, etc.) is in question, which allows for a broad interpretation and interpretation by the courts. In particular, the new Art. 280.4 provides for liability for “public calls for the implementation of activities directed against the security of the state.” According to Knyazev, the expansion of criminal articles in this case is unnecessary, since such appeals do not pose a serious public danger. In addition, the application of Art. 280.4 will be selective due to the large number of people who could theoretically commit a violation, he believes.
On February 24, Vladimir Putin announced the start of a special operation in Ukraine. A week later, the president signed a law introducing criminal and administrative liability for the public dissemination of fakes about the use of the Russian Armed Forces. Depending on the severity of the crime, Russians face a fine of 700,000 to 5 million rubles. or from three to 15 years in prison.
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