Russian President Vladimir Putin signed new legislation published Wednesday increasing the fines on protest organizers for violating public assembly rules.
Following mass protests that rocked Moscow and other Russian cities in 2011 and 2012, the federal government has taken various measures to toughen the rules regulating public rallies. In 2014, authorities signed legislation introducing tougher sentencing for public protesters.
According to the new legislation, which amends parts of Russia’s administrative offenses code, protest organizers can be punished for “giving notice about a public event without the intention of holding it,” as well as for failing to notify authorities in the case of an event’s cancellation in due time.
Fines for violations will range from 5,000 rubles ($76) for individuals to 100,000 rubles for legal entities.
Lawmakers who submitted the draft law earlier this year said there has been an increase in “insincere” applications for the right to hold rallies, which they described as being “clearly provocative.”
The bill cited an incident in which a man in St. Petersburg submitted notices for holding 660 public events in a single day, which reportedly forced local authorities to ensure a political and medical presence at the site for events that were never held, thus “wasting money from the budget and the energy of the police.”