On 21 July, the bill, which equates alienation of the Russian territory with extremist activity, passed its second reading in the State Duma of the Russian Federation. The State Duma has appointed 22 July for the third reading.

Iryna Friz, a Ukrainian MP from the European Solidarity, commented on the bill.

‘In general, the bill was submitted to the State Duma to implement the updated Constitution of the Russian Federation. The bill clarifies the terminology of the current federal law On Combating Extremist Activity. Extremism is a violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation, including the alienation of part of its territory. According to the bill, any statements, including those of mass media, any printed, audio or video media, containing signs of ‘calls’ to change the Russian territory will be equated with extremist activity, and authors thereof will be criminally liable pursuant to the Russian legislation. Those staying abroad will also be liable’, the MP explained.

‘By this bill, the Russian Federation violates Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, according to which everyone has the right to freedom of expression without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers’, Iryna Friz stressed.

‘Russia legalises the annexation of Crimea by this bill, because everyone saying ‘Crimea is Ukraine’ will be considered criminals and can become criminally liable’, the MP said.

Those violating the territorial integrity could face from six to ten years of imprisonment. The bill prescribes an administrative fine in the maxim amount of 300 non-taxable minimum incomes for calls to such violation.