of the Commission of the State Duma on the Investigation of Foreign Interference
in Russia's Internal Affairs was held on May 28. According to Chairman of the Commission Vasilii Piskarev
Vasilii Ivanoviсh , the main topic of the meeting was the preparation of legislative initiatives following the facts of foreign interference identified and reviewed by the Commission. “The bills are almost ready and will be introduced in the State Duma in the near future,” the parliamentarian said.
The fight against drug propaganda
According to Vasilii Piskarev, amendments to Article 150 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, aimed at increasing the upper limit of criminal liability for involving minors in the illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, will be proposed. Members of the State Duma suggest raising it to fifteen years. Amendments may also be made to article 230 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. If the law is adopted, strict criminal liability for inducing drug use via the Internet will appear.
“This is consistent with the relevant instruction of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin,” emphasized Vasilii Piskarev.
He also reminded that the Commission had previously identified ”several international non-governmental organizations, whose activities are prohibited in Russia, as well as foreign media that are actively trying to influence the attitude of Russian young people towards drugs and decriminalize drug consumption.“
In particular, he referred to the Open Society Foundations (USA), Open Russia (Great Britain) and others recognized as undesirable NGOs in Russia, as well as to three media outlets — the Meduza online newspaper (Latvia), BBC (United Kingdom) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (USA).
Their publications aimed at promoting drugs were sent to law enforcement agencies by the Commission. As a result, the Prosecutor's Office initiated an administrative investigation upon the distribution of materials from undesirable organizations, and access to several publications, in particular Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, was blocked.
Countering the provocateurs training
Vasilii Piskarev said that the Commission also revealed numerous facts of training Russian citizens on how to promote the legalization of drugs and tolerance for drug use in Russian society, as well as to organize mass riots and unauthorized events with involvement of minors. As the parliamentarian noted, the training is provided with the financial and organizational support of NGOs recognized in the Russian Federation as undesirable.
“Such actions of provocateurs currently do not qualify as a violation of the law, which in the face of increasing of external and internal threats appears to be a lacuna in the legislation,” said the Chairman of the Commission, noting that to eliminate such lacuna the Commission has prepared amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses on establishing administrative responsibility for Russian citizens for participating in events held abroad by foreign NGOs whose activities are considered undesirable.
The fight against the justification of extremism
Finally, the Commission established the facts of the distribution, including via the Internet, of information containing justification for extremist activities based on political, ideological, and religious grounds by representatives of foreign human rights organizations and the media, Vasilii Piskarev said. As an example, he cited a recent situation when several Western media tried to justify posting photos of Nazi criminals on the site of the Immortal Regiment.
In this regard, the Commission of the State Duma on the Investigation of Foreign Interference in Russia's Internal Affairs proposes to amend the Law ”On Information, Information Technologies and the Protection of Information“. Proposed amendments will provide for restricting access to information containing justification for extremist or terrorist activities. This decision can be taken by the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation or his deputies.
Also during the meeting, the Commission discussed the facts of interference in the internal affairs of our country by fabricating and distributing fake news about the fight against the spread of coronavirus in Russia by foreign media, such as publications by the New York Times and the Financial Times, the Bloomberg agency, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“We reviewed publications of such media resources as Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and its subsidiary resources Sever.Realii and Crimea.Realii, Current time, as well as Meduza and MBK-Media that relay such inaccurate information to a Russian audience. We asked the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Prosecutor General’s Office to take response measures regarding media companies involved in the dissemination of destructive information,” said Vasilii Piskarev.