Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation on Wednesday that increases fines for violations committed during political demonstrations. Protesters who disobey the new laws could be fined up to 4,000 rubles, an increase from the previous 1,000 rubles fine. Repeat offenders could pay up to 20,000 rubles for such conduct.
The amendment comes as organizers continue to protest the government’s treatment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was recently sentenced to prison for three-and-a-half years for a parole violation. Navalny lost his appeal but maintains his innocence and asserts his conviction is merely an effort to push back against his anti-corruption campaign. Navalny’s lawyer recently informed the media that the government is currently holding him in a prison outside of Moscow.
Last August, Navalny was poisoned by a chemical nerve agent and hospitalized in Germany, thus unable to report to Russia for parole.
This is not the first time the Russian government has responded to recent demonstrations by threatening financial penalties. Earlier this year, Russia’s media watchdog stated social media companies could face significant fines if content encouraging youths to participate in protests is distributed on their platforms.