Russian government amends treason and spying definitions

Last week Russia’s State Duma passed a law abolishing the use of juries in terrorism trials, and replacing them with three-judge panels. This week the government has submitted yet another bill significantly revising legal definitions of spying and treason. Current Russian law defines spying and treason as “hostile” actions threatening “the foreign security of the Russian Federation”. The new bill, if enacted, will revise the definition to “[actions] against the security of the Russian Federation, including its constitutional order, sovereignty, territorial and state integrity”. Additionally, the proposed bill significantly increases penalties for treason and espionage, and augments the legal authority of the state-appointed Commission for the Protection of State Secrets of the Russian Federation –the body responsible for overseeing state secrecy in Russia. Opposition figures have voiced strong concerns that the proposed legislation is primarily directed against law-abiding dissent, and that the proposed provisions “could lead to accusations of treason against anyone who criticizes the authorities”. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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