Putin is toughening his legislative clampdown on blasphemy and offensive acts against religion. This looks like a reaction to the Pussy Riot case and a response against the appeal made by Dmitry Medvedev for greater leniency for the three female members of the band, sentenced to two years in prison. Article 243, 1 on “insulting religions and people’s religious sentiment” will soon appear in the Russian Criminal Code.
This is according to Russian language business
daily, Vedomosti. Its sources say the bill should be passed on to the
State Duma soon and will be backed by the four parties in the lower
chamber of Russia’s Parliament.
The first section of the new article to be added
to the Russian Criminal Code, prescribes sanctions for public insults
made to religious faiths, in places of worship and during rites and
ceremonies. The punishment for such crimes will be a 300 thousand rouble
fine (10 thousand dollars), 200 hours of hard labour or up to three
The measure brings to mind images of the four
Orthodox crosses sawed down in two different locations in Russia,
sparked by the Pussy Riot case.
Another item on the agenda, is the burial of the
controversial and mysterious Grigorij Rasputin, the crazy monk in the
Romanov court who was renowned for his alleged corruption, hypnotic
powers and his propensity for intrigue.