Putin ‘Won’t Sign’ Protest Law Outside European Norms

President Vladimir Putin will not sign into law a bill toughening the penalties for infringements of the regulations on public protests if the bill contravenes generally accepted European norms, his press secretary Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Wednesday.

A draft law significantly increasing the penalties for breaking the rules on meetings was approved by the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

“Putin will be against in principle in one case – if the law is contrary to the generally accepted laws typically used in other states protecting the rights of citizens and members of society, about which the law describes. We’re talking about European countries where analogous laws exist,” Peskov said.

“Conceptually, Putin thinks this law, as in other European states, and other states in the world, should not inhibit democracy or the rights of citizens, but at the same time it must take into consideration and guarantee the rights and interests of all sections of society,” he said.

Putin will study the draft law with painstaking care, Peskov said.

“Putin will look at the law after it is presented for signing, because there were many amendments in the course of its passage, naturally, and the law will need to be carefully studied in its final form,” he added.

Russia’s upper chamber, the Federation Council, passed the bill on Wednesday.

The law includes hundred-fold increases in the fines for breaking the rules on organizing public meetings and bans meeting participants from wearing masks.


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