Russians who encourage minors to join protests may face 10 years in jail. The author of the new bill, an MP with the ruling United Russia party, believes rally organizers prey on youth “because they are the easiest to manipulate.”
Under current law, the organizers of an unauthorized rally can be fined up to 50,000 rubles ($718), but Yevgeny Marchenko wants to send them to a penal colony.
“Nowadays, the topic of the rallies seems to be gone. Because of the coronavirus, we don’t have any rallies, legal or illegal, but it could arise at any time. Organizers of unauthorized rallies bet on underage youth, because they are the easiest to manipulate,” said Marchenko.
As it stands, involving minors in an unauthorized protest is an administrative offense. Marchenko’s new law would change this to a criminal offense. If found guilty, the punishment could be up to 10 years in a penal colony.
“We have an article in the Criminal Code for involving minors in antisocial activities. Various illegal actions are listed there, and I want to supplement this article with another illegal action,” he said.
According to Marchenko, the bill will be submitted to the State Duma before the end of the spring session.
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