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Putin Bans Publication of Bomb-Making Instructions

The illegal preparation of explosive materials and creation of explosive devices will now warrant a prison term of between three and six years, as well as fines of up to 200,000 rubles.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed into law amendments imposing a ban on the publication of instructions on making explosives.

The updated legislation prohibits mass media and online resources from publishing any information on how to make bombs or explosive devices, whereas previously websites containing such information would simply be blocked after inclusion in a federal registry.

Individuals who violate the legislation face fines of between 4,000 and 5,000 rubles ($88-$110), and enterprises will be hit with fees of between 800,000 rubles and 1 million rubles, according to a copy of the amendments posted on the government's legal information website.

The amendments also toughened other areas pertaining to explosives.

The illegal preparation of explosive materials and creation of explosive devices will now warrant a prison term of between three and six years, as well as fines of up to 200,000 rubles. Groups found guilty of these charges face up to eight years behind bars. Organized criminal groups face up to 12 years in prison and fines of up to 500,000 rubles for the same charges.

Previously, the charges carried a maximum prison sentence of five years.

The ubiquity of bomb-making information on the Internet was thrust into the spotlight in the wake of the Boston bombings last year, when it emerged that the perpetrators allegedly used instructions from a widely available online magazine run by jihadists.

Prior to that, the issue of banning the publication of such information had polarized lawmakers in various Western countries for decades, with some arguing that such information is already widely available in public libraries and thus should not be prohibited on the Internet.

The amendments signed by Putin on Tuesday appear to be aimed at preventing the spread of such information on Russia's social networks, where numerous profiles and communities have been set up that cater to extremists.

The significance of social media in extremist activities has come to the forefront as the Islamic State has released numerous recruitment and training videos, many of which are in Russian.

Contact the author at a.quinn@imedia.ru

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