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Putin Submits Bill to Denaturalize Anti-War Russians

President Vladimir Putin has put forward legislation that would allow authorities to revoke the passports of naturalized Russian citizens who oppose the invasion of Ukraine, state media reported Sunday.

Putin proposed amendments to Russia’s law on citizenship that would make “discrediting” and spreading “fake news” about the Russian military grounds for denaturalization, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

Russia passed laws against “discrediting” and spreading “fake news” about the army shortly after it sent troops into Ukraine in late February, a move Kremlin critics say has been used to silence most anti-war voices.

The amendments also list membership in an “undesirable” organization, calls for secession and extremism, organizing an armed insurrection, assassination attempts on officials and vandalism as possible grounds, as well as a range of non-political crimes like robbery and bribery.

The bill originally contained language on denaturalization for felonies that include “crimes against the state,” terrorism and drug offenses when it passed its first of three readings in early April.

Putin’s amendments have retroactive powers and give Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) authority to investigate the listed crimes, according to the RBC news website.

The bill’s submission follows recent high-profile court rulings to strip prominent climate activist Arshak Makichyan of his Russian citizenship and deport a Moldovan TikToker who parodied a Russian soldier who was filmed disposing of grenades dropped from a Ukrainian drone.

Lawmakers vowed to pass the new denaturalization bill and put it on Putin’s desk for signing into law “fairly quickly.”

“Everyone has to make up their mind: either you’re with your country or you’re not,” Dmitry Vyatkin, a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, told RIA Novosti.

In addition to expanding the grounds for naturalization, Putin proposed expanding his authority to grant Russian citizenship on a simplified basis and easing requirements for certain categories of applicants to obtain a Russian passport.

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