The space for free expression in Russia shrank further today after the State Duma in Moscow passed two new bills aimed at stamping out minority views, Amnesty International said.
Within hours of each other, the country’s lower house of Parliament passed bills to criminalize blasphemy and outlaw activism by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and their supporters.
The measures are expected to be approved in the near future by the upper house of Parliament and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
“In the space of mere hours, the Duma succeeded in adopting two pieces of legislation that testify to the shrinking space for freedom of expression in Russia. They represent a sorry attempt by the government to bolster its popularity by pandering to the most reactionary elements of Russian society – at the expense of fundamental rights and the expression of individual identities,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director at Amnesty International.