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Russian MPs consider criminalizing loyalty to US sanctions

Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Russian lawmakers have proposed a bill that envisages the detention of any individuals refusing to do business with Russians in the wake of anti-Moscow sanctions imposed by the US and some other foreign countries.

The draft legislation introduced to the State Duma — the lower house of Russia’s parliament — sought to make it a criminal offense punishable by up to four years in prison or by a fine of $9,300 for any person or representative of an organization that observed foreign sanctions imposed on the country.

The same legislation would also penalize Russian citizens who help foreign governments sanction Russia by providing advice or information.

“Ordinary business operations or transactions” are understood as legal activities “freely performed within the framework or ordinary business and other activity consistent with the law by persons not differing from private and public entities and foreign persons controlled by them, with restrictive measures introduced against them,” an anonymous source said, citing excerpts from the text of the proposed bill.

The draft proposal sets forth liability for “committal of willful acts by a Russian citizen, facilitating introduction of restrictive measures by a foreign state, a union of foreign states or an international organization against Russia’s private and public entities and persons controlled by them,” the source added.

It also covers “submission of recommendations and handover of data” that led or may lead to introduction of sanctions against Russian companies and citizens.

The State Duma, dominated by the United Russia party that backs President Vladimir Putin, is expected to discuss the measure on May 14.

Last month, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev threw his support behind the idea of making it a criminal offense to observe US sanctions, and said the Kremlin should back sanctions-hit Russian companies to ensure that jobs were protected.

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