Russian lawmakers are weighing a bill that would grant the state power to seize property from people who criticize Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Criticizing the invasion, which began nearly two years ago, is effectively a crime already. But the new bill aims to make penalties even harsher.
The draft bill, considered by Russia’s parliament on Monday, would allow for the state to seize the property of Russians who have left the country and have criticized the war but who continue to rely on revenue from renting out their houses or apartments in Russia.
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The speaker of the State Duma lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, a close Putin ally, has dubbed the new bill “the scoundrel law.”
“Everyone who tries to destroy Russia, betrays it, must be punished accordingly and repay the damage to the country in the form of their property,” he said at the weekend while announcing the submission of the bill.
The move is being compared to the hunts of the 1930s under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin with their “enemy of the state” rhetoric, and could affect thousands of Russians who have spoken out against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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