New Law Could Punish 'Separatist Views' With 5-Year Prison Sentence

President Vladimir Putin signed a law makes spreading separatist views a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in jail.

Under the law submitted to the State Duma by the Communist Party, people will face a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($9,200) for calling for action against Russia's territorial integrity.

Lawmakers said the legislation was an effort to curb increasing public support for the idea of relinquishing mainly Muslim territories in the North Caucasus but the measure has also drawn criticism for drawing attention away from more serious problems in Russian society.

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