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Russia's State Duma Moves to Seize Property of Army Critics

Russian lawmakers on Wednesday passed in a first reading draft legislation that would allow authorities to confiscate the property of those convicted of “discrediting” and spreading “fakes” about the country's armed forces.

The bill, introduced into the lower-house State Duma on Monday, also proposes seizing money, property and other valuables from those found guilty of inciting “extremist” activity and calling for “anti-Russian” sanctions. 

Lawmakers voted 395-3 in favor of the bill on Wednesday, according to the parliament’s website. 

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, who over the weekend dubbed the draft legislation a “scoundrels bill,” told lawmakers that their votes could affect their re-election prospects.

To become law, the bill must now pass two more readings in the State Duma, after which it would go to the upper-house Federation Council for a vote. President Vladimir Putin would also need to sign off. 

The independent news outlet Sota reported that a second reading of the bill is expected in two weeks.

Russian authorities outlawed criticism of the military shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The charge of spreading “fakes” about the army carries a maximum jail sentence of up to 15 years and has been used by the authorities to stifle any form of dissent.

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