Russia’s Duma Passes Bill on Unsanctioned Rallies

The lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, passed late on Tuesday in the second and final third readings a bill that tightens rules for public gatherings and hikes fines for unsanctioned rallies.

It took over 11 hours of debates for members of the parliament to pass the controversial bill. With the required 226 votes to pass the draft law, 241 voted in favor and 147 against the bill.

New legislation introduces fines of up to 600,000 rubles ($18,000) for violations during rallies and bans any unsanctioned public gatherings if they disturb public peace or hinder traffic.

It will have to be passed by Russia’s Federation Council and then approved by the president before coming into force.

The Federation Council announced earlier that it planned to debate on the bill on June 6.

The bill was introduced after an opposition rally on May 6, which ended in protesters clashing with police, and is being fast-tracked ahead of a new mass rally planned for Russia Day on June 12.

The updated Russian legislation on rallies must comply with European legislative standards regulating public events, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, speaking at a press conference after an EU-Russia summit in St. Petersburg. He did not elaborate.


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