Following his support for Assad, Putin now hopes to silence his own dissenters

He refuses to cut ties with Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad, and now Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to pass a bill to quash protests in his own country.

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He refuses to cut ties with Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad, and now Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected to pass a bill to quash protests in his own country.

assad putinThe Russian government is expected to pass a controversial bill increasing the penalties for breaking laws during protests. The current maximum fine for violations is 5,000 roubles (£99; $152), but this will now increase to 300,000 for participants and 600,000 for organisers.

The changes mean people could be fined for taking part in unsanctioned protests or for violations during sanctioned ones. Critics of the bill claim the changes made will give too much room for interpretation by local authorities.

Gennady Gudkov, a Duma deputy with the opposition Just Russia party, told Reuters:

Any gathering of people in the street can be declared a demonstration by the authorities so you will have to be careful when you attend a wedding or a funeral that you don’t end up in a police van by the end of the night.

Reuters also reports Sergei Mitrokhin, an opposition leader whose Yabloko party has no seats in parliament, described the move as “a monstrous bill which will essentially ban people from protesting”.

Moments after talking to them, he was roughly detained with other activists.

Putin has been heavily criticised recently for not supporting a tougher stance on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, following the Houla massacre. French president Francois Hollande says the “only solution” to the crisis in Syria was for Assad to resign yet Putin disagrees. Some believe Putin is refusing to speak out against Assad because of the arms trade between the two countries.


See also:

Syria: There is no simple solution 15 Feb 2012


Following the presidential election in December, Putin has been faced with countless protests claiming the vote was rigged. However, a poll shows protest has weakened in the last few months and contrastingly Putin’s popularity ratings are at their most positive for two years.

As Dmitri Travin, writing for Open Democracy, notes:

“In the near future, the leadership of the protest movement looks likely to revert to a few passionate individuals who are prepared to pay the large fines prescribed by new Russian legislation for organising meetings, as well as to do regular stints behind bars.”

This bill, which only needs to be signed off by Putin to become law, will smother the voices protesting against the regime and dash the hopes of those that were pushing for a more democratic Russia.


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