Russia doubles penalty for insulting officials

Slandering and insulting an ordinary citizen in Russia are no longer treated as criminal offenses, but the maximum sentence for insulting a state official has doubled under a new law that went into effect on January 1.

Signed into law on December 7, the measure has been presented as a breakthrough initiative in President Dmitry Medvedev’s bid to liberalize the Criminal Code.

Under the reform, slandering and insulting a regular citizen in Russia is subject to a fine of up to about $1,600 for an individual or up to $16,000 for a legal entity.

However, the punishment for insulting an official has doubled from a maximum six months of hard labor to as much as one year under the new law.


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