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The law providing liability for insulting of Russian authorities in internet has been adopted in first reading

The Russian government believes the draft law, providing liability for those who insult Russian authorities in internet, is to be corrected. It was proposed to make wording of some definitions more clearly in order to exclude any opportunity of misinterpretation what as consequence can entail problems in enforcement practice. The general prosecutor and Russian ministry of justice have negatively assessed the current version of draft law.

After the Russian government has approved the draft law, providing the General office with right to restrict access to web-resources where the “disrespectful remarks” on Russian state authorities are published, and referred it the relevant committee in Russian state duma, this committee also upheld the draft law. The committee believes the prohibitions, provided in the draft law, are already enshrined in current Russian law. If such prohibitions are already in force why to adopt the new law with the same prohibitions and duplicate them?

The committee has underlined that the wording of definition “expressing indecent contempt” is of evaluative nature and does not comply with the requirement of legal certainty. But anyway, the draft law has been recommended to be adopted in first reading and can be corrected to the second reading. The penalty for insulting of Russian authorities in internet under the draft law is up to 15 days of administrative detention. There is also one interesting moment with general prosecutor. His office changed his mind regarding draft law when it was approved by the government and state duma.

When it was recommended to adopt the draft law in first reading the general prosecutor did not oppose the current version of draft law. As a result the draft law has been adopted in first reading but all deputies recognised that the draft law lacks the legal certainty as regards its wordings.