Demonstrators taking a stand against President Vladimir Putin may have to check their wallets first.
Fines for breaking the law at rallies in Russia are set to skyrocket.
With Putin back in the Kremlin, extending his 12 year domination of the country, the Duma is debating a bill on protest penalties proposed by his party.
Critics claim it is intimidation. Members of one opposition party gathered outside parliament to denounce the draft law.
“A direct signal has been given: sit down and keep quiet!” said Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of the liberal Yabloko party. “You might be living in poverty and we will condemn you to live in poverty….. and you shouldn’t try to resist, do not dare to say anything.”
Sofia Rusova, an activist with Yabloko’s youth wing, believes the crackdown could trigger violence – or apathy.
“This will be a direct way for people either to go out for some sort of armed rebellion or just sit at home, which leads nowhere as nothing is going to change,” she said.
Mitrokhin was among several protesters detained outside the Duma as deputies inside discussed the proposed new punishments.
Under the new law, protest organisers could be fined the equivalent of up to 38,000 euros if a demonstration turns disorderly.