Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday proposed designating Russians who left the country in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine "enemies of society" and suggested they be banned from returning to Russia "for the rest of their lives."
Medvedev's proposed term "enemies of society" echoes the Soviet-era term "enemy of the people," which was widely used to justify execution, deportation, or imprisonment during Stalin’s rule.
"Traitors who hate their country so much that they call for its defeat and destruction" should lose their right to return to their homeland and be cut off from their "sources of income" in Russia, Medvedev added.
Medvedev, whose rhetoric has become increasingly extreme over the past year, made his comments as the lower house of Russia's parliament debates raising taxes for Russians living abroad.
According to independent Russian media outlet The Bell, over half a million Russians have emigrated since February, among them over 100,000 IT specialists who left the country due to the worsening economic and political situation and the announcement of mobilization in September.
"The return home of such persons can only take place if an unequivocal public repentance is made beforehand, and in appropriate cases only through amnesty or pardon," Medvedev concluded.