Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law punishing calls for action against Russia’s security with heavy prison sentences as Moscow clamps down on all voices opposed to his military offensive in Ukraine.
• Also Read: Ukraine: OSCE warns of “infiltration camps”.
Mr. Public calls by individuals against Russian security are now punishable by two to four years in prison, according to new rules published Thursday on the portal of texts signed by Putin. The sanction may be extended to 5 years in case of media broadcast appeals and 7 years in case of organized group.
He also launched a text tightening restrictions on individuals and organizations designated as “foreign agents” used to suppress criticism of the Kremlin.
Another measure provides for up to 20 years in prison for any Russian citizen who takes part in a conflict in a foreign country that is against Russia’s interests.
Mr. Putin signed a text that provides for fines or up to seven years in prison for possessors of government secrets who travel abroad without prior permission.
The texts are part of a battery of provisions passed by parliament in recent weeks and only lack the signature of the head of state to bring them into force.
Since the start of Russia’s military offensive in Ukraine on February 24, Russian authorities have strengthened their crackdown on voices critical of the regime, blocking independent media and social networks.
The laws now also impose heavy jail terms for any criticism that tarnishes the image of the army.
Many Russians, dissidents Ilya Iachin and Vladimir Kara-Mourza but also ordinary citizens are already in prison pending their trial for similar reasons.
Moscow municipal elected official Alexei Gorynov was sentenced to seven years in prison last week for condemning the attack on Ukraine.