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Russia Moves to Seize Assets From Critics of Its War in Ukraine

Russia Moves to Seize Assets From Critics of Its War in Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin talks during the 21th Congress of the United Russia Party on 17 December 2023 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo: Contributor / Getty Images)

Russian lawmakers want to confiscate the property of people who criticize the military invasion of Ukraine, intensifying the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent against President Vladimir Putin.

Draft legislation submitted to the State Duma on Monday and backed by Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, a close Putin ally, will permit the seizure of property, money and other valuables belonging to those convicted of spreading “fake news” about the Russian army.

“Everyone who tries to destroy Russia and betray it must suffer a deserved punishment and compensate for the damage caused to the country at the expense of their property,” Volodin said on the Duma’s website.

Russia Jails Anti-War Activist for 8 1/2 Years for ‘Fake News’

People accused of “public calls to carry out activities directed against the security of the state” could also be stripped of their property, potentially threatening activists involved in protests. Anyone assisting international organizations that Russia has cut ties with could also be punished under the legislation that may be considered as soon as Wednesday.

The measure adds to a law passed shortly after the February 2022 invasion that imposed prison terms and fines for “discrediting” the Russian army through “fake news.” Opponents of the war have been jailed or have fled into exile amid the harshest repression since the Soviet era in Russia.

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