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Fri May 23, 2014, 07:18 PM

Russia toughens laws against separatists seeking self-determination inside Russia.

According to president Vladimir Putin, those in Crimea who voted to secede from Ukraine were simply exercising their right to self-determination, and the Kremlin continues to condemn Kiev's military operation against separatists in eastern Ukraine. But that hasn't stopped Russia's parliament from toughening punishments for separatist ideas in its own country.

New legislation introduced by Andrei Klishas, head of the Federation Council's committee on constitutional legislation, seeks to increase the maximum punishment from three to four years imprisonment for "public calls for actions violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation." The bill also adds lesser punishments including arrest for up to six months and compulsory work for up to three years.

A government crackdown on independent media has been accompanied by stricter regulations on the internet in recent months. Putin signed a controversial law earlier this month forcing popular bloggers to register with the government's internet watchdog.

Meanwhile, the government was discussing on Friday the creation of an "internet ombudsman" position, according to the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. The newspaper reported that one of the candidates for the position was conservative MP Sergei Zheleznyak, who has authored a variety of moralistic legislation, as well as initiatives to increase the authorities' access to internet users' information.


What's good for the goose may not be good for the gander.

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