Lawmakers in Russia’s national parliament have waved through a bill that would ban people “involved in the activities” of organizations recognized as either extremist and terrorist from being elected to any government position.
Once signed by President Vladimir Putin, the prohibition will not only apply to those who lead the groups, but to individuals who have offered them any form of assistance or support. People deemed to be the heads of such organizations will be banned for five years, with less-senior figures being blocked from running for office for three years.
“Those who transfer donations to such organizations, as well as providing them with advice and other assistance, may also fall under the ban,” the parliament’s website explains. “Also, a public statement approving the activities or individual events of such organizations will be considered support, including on the internet.”
The legislation could also shut out opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s senior allies and financial supporters from running for office in the upcoming State Duma elections. The activist’s organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, is currently under court-imposed restrictions pending a decision on whether it should be declared extremist, scheduled for June 9.
According to Vasily Piskarev, the head of the parliamentary committee on security, this new law will prevent agents of Western influence from infiltrating the Russian government.
“[The West] wants to weaken our country and infiltrate our authorities through a network of extremist and terrorist organizations in order to destroy us as a sovereign state,” he explained.
The parliament speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, also supported the move, saying that Russian politicians must “only act in the interests of our country.”
“It is important to protect the authorities from such people because all this can lead to bad consequences,” he said.
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