Putin signed a law on punishment for discrediting mercenaries
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law according to which discrediting war participants, including volunteers, is punishable by up to seven years in prison. The corresponding amendments were adopted by the State Duma on March 14.
The law amends two articles of the Criminal Code – for so-called fakes and for discrediting the Russian army. For fakes about the participants of the war, the penalty is up to 15 years in prison, for discrediting them – up to seven years.
In addition, the punishment for spreading fakes and repeated discrediting, if these actions led to death or mass disturbances, is increased from five to seven years.
The founder of the so-called PMC “Wagner” Yevgeny Prigozhin asked to introduce criminal responsibility for the discrediting of war participants. The mercenaries of his military company are equated to volunteers.
The head of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin and his deputy Iryna Yarovaya are among the authors of the bill.
Russian courts recognize any information about the war that contradicts official reports by discrediting and spreading obviously false information. In particular, information on alleged war crimes, including attacks on civilian objects and civilian casualties.
According to human rights activists, since the beginning of the war, more than 450 people have been prosecuted under criminal articles for their anti-war stance in Russia. More than 100 of them are in prison.