Russia’s lower house of parliament – the Duma – has approved two controversial bills. One will label foreign-funded non-governmental organisations as “foreign agents”.
Deputies in the Duma also voted overwhelmingly to impose fines for libel or slander. It is expected the upper house and President Vladimir Putin will pass the bills into law.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Liberal-Democrats leader said: “Now, against the backdrop of unbridled propaganda on every TV channel and especially on the internet, we are bringing this article back onto the statue book but much less severe than it was before: no prison terms and even maybe no forced labour, only the fine, a maximum of 300,000 roubles (8,000 euros).”
Protesters during the debate claimed the fines could top the equivalent of 100,000 euros depending on who was involved.
NGOs have criticised the other bill saying they have to seek funding from abroad because they cannot get it from the Russian state. There are also fears the bill could be used to restrict independent election monitoring.