After May 9, it will be punishable by 5 years in Russian prison to talk about ‘Ukrainian Crimea’

By Tony Ortega
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 13:48 EDT
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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin adjusts his sunglasses (AFP)
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The online newspaper Ukrayinska Pravda (literally “Ukrainian Truth”) reported Monday that soon, it will cost Russians up to five years in prison if they “violate the territorial integrity” of their country — which just grew after it annexed Crimea from Ukraine in a controversial referendum.

We checked, and sure enough, in December, the Russian parliament, the State Duma, adopted a new law that was signed by Vladimir Putin on December 28.

On May 9, the law goes into effect, and it will become a crime in Russia to make “public calls for action to violate the territorial integrity” of the country.

Doing so is punishable by a fine of 300,000 rubles — about $8,400 — or imprisonment up to three years.

Doing the same thing with the use of the news media or the Internet calls for a prison term of up to five years.

Ukrayinska Pravda points out that this puts non-Russians in Crimea in a tough spot.

“In Crimea are still Crimean Tatars, Ukrainians, and others who do not want to be citizens of Russia. According to the new law, the Russian Federation will soon be able to punish them if they try to bring up the topic of ownership of the Crimea.”

Tony Ortega
Tony Ortega
Tony Ortega is Raw Story's executive editor. From 2007 to 2012 , he was editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. He also worked at Voice Media Group's other newspapers in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Fort Lauderdale. He lives in New York City and is originally from Los Angeles.
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