Russia The Russian parliament is considering a number of bills restricting the activities of the opposition – one of which would allow election candidates to be declared “agents of foreign powers”

Parliament is also considering classifying so-called queuing demonstrations as requiring prior authorization from the authorities.

Moscow

In Russia there has been talk this week of a number of bills that could have far-reaching implications, especially for the opposition and critics of those in power.

One bill would make it easier for individuals to be declared “agents of foreign powers,” including election candidates. The second would tighten the regulations on NGOs. The third would define so-called queuing demonstrations as demonstrations, in which case they would also be required to obtain prior permission.

In addition, one bill would allow access to websites that “discriminate against Russian media” to be restricted. In practice, the Russian authorities could block access to Youtube, Twitter and Facebook, for example.

The most attention has been drawn to a proposal that would make it easier to declare an individual a “foreign agent”.

Under current law, the authorities can already do so, but only the authors and distributors of media articles declared to be agents of foreign powers. Now an initiative from the House of Lords, the Federation Council, is proposing to add new groups.

In the future, “agents of foreign powers” ​​could be declared to include, among others, candidates who are affiliated with people declared to be agents of foreign powers. People receiving funding from abroad could also be stamped if they take part in political and social activities. Similarly, data on Russia’s military operations are being collected.

Federal Council President of the Commission Andrei Klimov said according to Tass news agency that the change would give voters a clearer idea of ​​whose interests each candidate is advocating for.

“If the proposal is adopted in its current form, anyone can be counted as acting under‘ foreign influence ’. This is simply about banning the liberal opposition, ”the analyst said Tatjana Stanovajan The incubator headed by R.Politik wrote on his Telegram channel.

It pointed out that in an election case, the target appears to be an opposition figure Alexei Navalnyi with its allies. According to it, the authorities can easily declare Navalny a “foreign agent,” in which case all those connected with him will become such.

I became a close associate Leonid Volkov wrote on Facebook that the target is the “wise voting” project run by Navalny, in which votes are focused on opponents of those in power.

Change it would also be to make so-called queuing demonstrations subject to authorization.

In Russia, the authorities require prior authorization for demonstrations, which is far from always granted. Demonstrations by one person, on the other hand, are generally allowed, so in quick demonstrations, people have stood in line and one has demonstrated at a time.

Political Deputy Director of the Technology Center Alexei Makarkin writes on the center’s Telegram that several laws restricting opposition activism have been prepared for a long time.

“The simultaneous publication of bills creates a cumulative psychological effect designed to demonstrate the seriousness of the intentions of those in power,” he estimates.

There are two important explanations for him at the time: the protest movement that has begun in peaceful Belarus so far, and the result of the U.S. presidential election. The third explanation is next year’s Duma elections.

“[Yhdysvaltain presidentti Donald] Trump was completely indifferent to the idea of ​​promoting democracy and the Russian opposition, [presidentinvaalien voittajaksi julistetun Joe] Biden administration is apparently less indifferent. “

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